Texans focused on eliminating mistakes
HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Texans made mistakes in almost every area in Monday's loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Whether it is turnovers, penalties or problems on defense, the Texans must limit these errors if they hope to bounce back from three straight losses on Sunday against Tennessee.
Coach Bill O'Brien is concerned about all the problems his team is having, but there are two areas that worry him the most.
''We've got to stop turning the ball over and I think probably the big thing to me is we've got to eliminate the line of scrimmage penalties,'' O'Brien said. ''Those types of things we can control so we have to make sure that we're correcting that.''
The Steelers scored three touchdowns in less than 90 seconds at the end of the first half to rally for a 30-23 win.
''What stood out was the end of the half,'' O'Brien said. ''It really was kind of a 14-play sequence where all three phases were involved. All three phases made mistakes.''
The Texans (3-4) were up by 10 late in the second quarter before Ben Roethlisberger's first TD pass. Arian Foster fumbled on the second play of Houston's next drive and the Steelers added another score seconds later on a trick play.
But Houston wasn't done with its first-half miscues. Ryan Fitzpatrick was intercepted on the next play and Pittsburgh took a 24-13 lead with another touchdown pass by Roethlisberger just before halftime.
''It was miserable, a terrible display of football,'' Fitzpatrick said. ''It was as bad as I think it can get. As bad as I've seen, with two turnovers inside the 5-yard line and basically giving them 14 points. It's unacceptable.''
Fitzpatrick's trouble with turnovers in the past few weeks has some wondering if it's time for the Texans to bench him and go with Ryan Mallett. O'Brien said that Mallett has improved a lot since signing with the Texans, but that he won't be starting anytime soon.
''Fitzy is our quarterback,'' O'Brien said. ''When you look at our tape, you cannot just point to one position and say that's the position that is at fault. There are a lot of positions that need to play better; we need to coach better ... it's not one guy.''
O'Brien is also looking to improve communication within his team. A breakdown in that area was evident on Pittsburgh's last touchdown before halftime - a 2-yard reception by Le'Veon Bell. On that play Bell was left uncovered and safety D.J. Swearinger tried in vain to get to him before he easily scored.
''It probably needs to be more consistent,'' O'Brien said. ''When you watch that play, we didn't adjust that very well. We had worked on that in practice, it just didn't get communicated ... very well out on the field.''
They'll get a chance to work on these things and try for their first division win when they travel to play AFC South foe Tennessee. Houston should get first overall pick Jadeveon Clowney back for the game. He returned to practice last week, but wasn't quite ready to play on Monday night.
He's been out since injuring his knee in the first game on Sept. 7 and having arthroscopic surgery the next day.
''Before the game, he still felt his ability to cut wasn't totally there yet,'' O'Brien said. ''But he feels really good and he'll practice this week and we'll see how it goes ... and be able to make a determination pretty soon on whether he can play or not.''
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