The Texans are well aware of the fact that they aren't good enough to give points away. That realization hasn't exactly stopped them from doing it, though.
Houston is tied for the league lead in turnovers (26) with the Baltimore Ravens. Eighteen of the Texans' turnovers have resulted in 94 points by their opponents. That total accounts for 39.8 percent of the points scored against the Texans this season.
Last week, all 10 of the points scored by New Orleans came off Texans turnovers. With a tougher schedule awaiting them, the Texans realize they cannot make any more mistakes.
"We know that we give ourselves a good chance if we don't turn the ball over," coach Gary Kubiak said. "Is that my biggest concern right now? Yes, it is because we're not going to go to Cleveland, Tennessee, those places and have a chance to win if we turn the ball over."
The Texans weren't a turnover-prone team last year. They finished Kubiak's first season with a total of 25 turnovers, 16 of which resulted in 84 points by the opponents.
Only four players accounted for the 12 lost fumbles, seven of which belonged to quarterback David Carr.
This season, many more players are involved. Quarterback Matt Schaub has lost three fumbles. Tight end Owen Daniels has lost two. The other eight are dispersed amongst eight players.
"Giving up the ball gives them another opportunity they wouldn't usually have to put points on the board," Daniels said. "We want to keep our defense off the field and wear out their defense; turning the ball over doesn't help that out. We will continue to try to clean that up."
In a 35-10 loss in San Diego, the Chargers scored 21 points off five turnovers. In the Texans' 38-36 loss to Tennessee, the Titans scored 12 points off six turnovers. In the 30-24 loss to Indianapolis, the Colts scored 10 points off two interceptions.
"We've just kind of proven to ourselves that when we get sloppy with the football, we don't give ourselves much of a chance," Kubiak said.
The saving grace recently for the Texans has been its defense. While the offense has turned the ball over at least once in every game this season, the defense has had three games without any takeaways. The Texans have six in the past two weeks, however.
Their 19 total takeaways have resulted in 46 points for the offense.
"The good thing is, we had one (turnover) two weeks ago and two (Sunday), but our defense is getting some," Kubiak said. "If we don't get any on defense (against New Orleans), we probably don't win that game. ... But because our defense was aggressive, found some turnovers themselves, we were able to get away with a couple. We've won the turnover battle the last two weeks, and we won the football games. We know that's an important factor for our team."
Heading into the final stretch of games, the Texans rank second overall in fumbles and sixth in interceptions thrown.
Kubiak said Schaub often sets the tone for the Texans with his own actions. His three fumbles have been when he was getting hit. His seven interceptions occurred mostly when he was trying to make something happen by throwing downfield.
He hasn't lost a fumble or thrown an interception in three of his nine starts this year. The team is 2-1 in those games. The most recent such outing was against New Orleans on Sunday.
"Everything starts with him," Kubiak said. "If he protects the ball and he's making good decisions, that gives our team the best chance. Boy, he was exceptional (Sunday). He'd be the first one to tell you he could probably be even better after looking at that game. I'm excited about his second half and where he's going."
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