Mistake-prone Texans look to improve before hosting Lions
HOUSTON (AP) Of all the mistakes the Houston Texans made in a loss to Denver on Monday night one stood out above the rest.
Brock Osweiler dropped back to pass on the first play of the fourth quarter and with no defender close to him he simply lost his handle on the ball and it tumbled slightly forward and to the ground.
It was scooped up by a Broncos defender, serving as a lasting image of a night where Osweiler and Houston's supposedly upgraded offense did little right.
Osweiler completed 22 of 41 passes for just 131 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions as the Texans (4-3) fell to 0-3 on the road this season with the 27-9 loss .
He continued to overthrow and underthrow receivers, and at least two of the 6-foot-7 quarterback's throws were batted down at the line.
This, it's safe to assume, isn't what the Texans were hoping for when they lured him away from the Broncos with that massive $72 million contract in an attempt to cure the quarterback woes that have nagged them for much of their existence.
However coach Bill O'Brien said he hasn't considered benching Osweiler, simply saying: ''No'' without further explanation when asked the question on Tuesday.
O'Brien has stood up for his quarterback week after week as outside criticism has grown, with many saying that Osweiler isn't worth the contract Houston gave him after he had started just seven games before this season.
He continued to back Osweiler on Tuesday and insisted that everyone needs to do more to get the offense on track as the team prepares to host Detroit on Sunday .
''He's a good player,'' O'Brien said. ''I think it's very difficult to come into a new system and a new team and just pick it up right away. I think everybody has to do a better job. Coaches, we all have to do better. I think he can play better. I know that the receivers can run routes better.''
Of course, Osweiler wasn't the only player who contributed to another lackluster offensive outing. Running back Lamar Miller injured his shoulder when he took a shot at the end of a run in the first quarter and played only sparingly after that.
Alfred Blue got the bulk of the carries after the first quarter and had some good runs.
But his fumble midway through the third quarter when the Texans were down by five points and were driving with a first down might have been the most costly error of the game.
The Broncos took advantage of that mistake with a touchdown and Osweiler's fumble came on Houston's next possession to put the game out of reach.
O'Brien said Miller would be day to day this week with his shoulder injury and the Texans will be without right tackle Derek Newton for the rest of the season after he injured both knees on Monday night.
O'Brien said he didn't have any specifics on Newton's injuries, but said he spent the night in Denver and was heading back where he will consult with more doctors.
''I feel bad, just a tough injury, but I know he's going to work hard to come back,'' O'Brien said.
Newton has been one of Houston's most consistent linemen over the past few years and started all 16 games in each of the past three seasons. With Newton out, the Texans will look to veteran Chris Clark to take over.
Every week O'Brien talks about how he has to try different tactics to get the offense going and every week - even following wins - the group continues to underperform and fail to show the potential many expected entering the season. He was asked what else he can do to jumpstart the group.
''You never run out of things,'' O'Brien said. ''No, I think every game is different. This is a long season ... there's always different challenges and things that present to you ... that's football. If there was perfection all the way around then why would we even do it? So, we're challenged here and we're going to try to do a better job.''
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