Texans encouraged after loss to jags

HOUSTON Discouraging, sure. But a strong performance by previously sloppy quarterback Matt Schaub and four straight home games have the 0-3 Texans believing they can turn things around.

Schaub wasn't the only improved player this week. It seemed that most of the Texans looked better than they had in the previous two blowouts. This time they lost 30-27 to Jacksonville on a field goal in overtime.

"It's very encouraging, just when you're watching how our guys fought," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "That's how you want your team to go out."

Coach Gary Kubiak said he isn't focusing on the record. He's simply looking for improvement.

"Well 0-2, 0-3 whatever, we've just got to keep playing better," he said. "If we play like we played yesterday, we're going to win our games."

Schaub had perhaps his best performance as a Texan, throwing for more than 300 yards for just the second time since arriving in Houston and finishing with a career-tying three touchdown passes. He entered the game with five interceptions and one touchdown this season.

He also wasn't sacked after being taken down eight times in the first two games and didn't commit a turnover for the first time this season.

"He had his back to the wall and it was very challenging going into the game, there's no secret about that," Kubiak said. "I think we went back to some of the things that have made him successful in the past ... I thought he played solid, but the biggest thing is we played better around him.

"We protected much better than we had the first few weeks and guys made plays. Those things make a quarterback's life a lot easier."

Schaub, who endured two weeks of fans calling for him to be replaced by backup Sage Rosenfels, was encouraged by the way his team moved the ball. He engineered five straight scoring drives on Sunday.

"I felt pretty good about what I was doing out there," he said. "I felt like I was seeing things really well and guys were stepping up and making plays for us."

While those on the outside were clamoring for Schaub's benching, his teammates said they believed he'd get back on track.

"He's a great quarterback," tackle Eric Winston said. "He's very able. No one lost any belief in him in the first couple of games ... we were behind him 100 percent. We believe in him 100 percent."

Kevin Walter, who scored a career-high two touchdowns, believes how Houston played against the Jags is how this offense should be and thinks the team can build on that success.

"People can expect this type of offense," Walter said. "We weren't in our rhythm the first two weeks. This week we were and that's the type of football we're going to play."

Kubiak takes no solace in any loss, even one as close as this one. But he does see reason for optimism.

"It's a long, long season. We've got to stay positive in our approach. We've got to continue to make the corrections we need to make," he said. "There were a lot of good things that happened yesterday."

They'll try to continue the offensive success next week when they host Indianapolis in their Hurricane Ike-delayed home opener. Houston was supposed to play its first home game against Baltimore Sept. 14, but that game was postponed until Nov. 9, forcing the Texans to play their first three games on the road.

The Texans will play in Reliant Stadium with the retractable roof open because it was damaged in the storm and hasn't been repaired.

"It will be good. It's nice to know we'll be down here for the next month," Kubiak said. "It's been three tough road games in a row. That's just been part of it and it's something we've got to battle through. But we do look forward to getting back home."

Notes: Safety C.C. Brown had surgery to repair a broken arm on Monday and will be placed on the injured reserve, ending his season. Brown has missed just one game since 2006. Kubiak said they will likely rotate several players to fill that spot, including Nick Ferguson and Brandon Harrison.

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