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Texans look to clean up mistakes to avoid falling to 0-3

September 17, 2018
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Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. The Titans won 20-17. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans committed mistake after mistake in their loss to Tennessee.

Now they must figure out a way to fix these problems, so they don’t fall into a 0-3 hole when they meet the New York Giants on Sunday.

“That’s probably the biggest thing,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “We have to eliminate those things. We have to coach it better, we’ve got to practice better. That’s probably the biggest thing that we can need to improve on, that we have too many mistakes in all three phases.”

Houston had 11 penalties for 88 yards in Sunday’s 20-17 defeat against the Titans. There were false starts, a clipping penalty and Jadeveon Clowney, who was inactive with an elbow injury, incurred one from the sideline for taunting.

It’s rather rare for a player not involved in the game to get a penalty. O’Brien said he didn’t have many details on what happened, but that he wasn’t surprised that the call was made.

“The taunting rule is a big emphasis ... that’s a good crew,” he said. “Pete Morelli does a good job. They saw it, they called it.”

Clowney declined comment when asked about it in the locker room on Monday.

While the penalties were certainly a problem for Houston on Sunday, there were plenty of other issues that kept the team out of the win column. A big problem for Houston this season has been pass protection.

While their revamped offensive line has been so good in run blocking that the team leads the NFL in yards rushing, the group hasn’t been nearly as successful in protecting Deshaun Watson.

Watson has been sacked seven times this season and hit or hurried numerous other times. O’Brien takes some of the blame for the trouble in pass protection and is working to find a solution.

“In the end, I have to call better plays in certain situations,” he said. “Got to do a better job of getting them in the right situation to help them execute better ... I think I can help it with certain play calls moving forward.”

Even with all their problems on Sunday the Texans still had a chance to send it to overtime. But Watson took so long to connect with DeAndre Hopkins on a 31-yard throw that the clock ran out before Houston had a chance to kick a field goal. O’Brien also took the blame for that gaffe on Monday, saying that he should have called a better play in that situation.

Sunday’s loss came after the Texans lost to New England 27-20 in the opener.

Despite all the difficulties O’Brien insists that they’re not panicking, and they remain positive that they can turn things around.

“We haven’t played well but we’ve been in it in the end and we’ve got to finish these games better,” he said. “We realize we have to do a lot better. We have to play more consistently.”

Veteran cornerback Johnathan Joseph said in situations such as this, things can begin to snowball, but that it’s up to him and the other experienced players to help the team get on track.

“I wouldn’t say us as a team, but you hear a lot of hype coming out of the preseason and things like that and then you have one or two games where it doesn’t fall in your favor, sometimes it crumbles a little bit,” he said. “But we’re definitely standing tall in this locker room and we’re moving on to next week.

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