Houston Finds New Ways to Lose; Texans Have Played Well at Times, but Can't Put It All Together

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL C. WRIGHT

Houston isn't going the extra mile to drive home the NFL's youth fitness initiative.

By saying the cliched "Play 60 [minutes]" over and over again, the Texans really mean it.

"Every week, we come in here saying we didn't play a full 60 minutes and things like that," Houston receiver Andre Johnson said.

Still, it hasn't stuck.

Mired in a three-game losing skid, the Texans (5-6) have put themselves into a must-win situation Sunday against the Jaguars (6-5) by finding seemingly every way imaginable to lose winnable games in clutch situations. It's happened in five of Houston's six defeats. In those games - all decided by eight points or fewer - the Texans held possession on the last series yet couldn't force overtime or pull out the victory.

"We've played for a half a lot of this season," Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson said. "We haven't played two."

Coincidentally, Houston's penchant for late-game heartbreak first manifested itself in a Sept. 27 loss to the Jaguars. With a chance to tie in the fourth quarter, the Texans watched an offensive pass-interference penalty wipe out a touchdown. Two plays later, with 2:48 remaining, Houston running back Chris Brown fumbled in the end zone, and Daryl Smith recovered to seal a Jaguars victory.

Two weeks later at Arizona, the Texans offense - with a chance to tie the score in the final minute - was stuffed three times from the Cardinals 1, resulting in a 28-21 loss.

In back-to-back losses to Indianapolis and Tennessee in Weeks 9 and 11, Kris Brown missed field goals in the final seconds that would've sent those games into overtime. …