Tex­ans mov­ing on from tough loss

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Kristie Rienken

HOUS­TON >> The Hous­ton Tex­ans dealt with a fan’s hand-held laser pointed at quar­ter­back Brock Osweiler’s eyes, ques­tion­able place­ment of the ball on two key plays and a would-be touch­down that was whis­tled dead in a loss to Oak­land on Monday night.

Sure, the Tex­ans were un­happy with all of those things, but a day later they know that dwelling on what happened in Mex­ico City won’t do them any good this week. The mes­sage for the Tex­ans was clear on Tues­day: It’s time to move on.

They re­ally have no other choice but to put the 27-20 de­feat be­hind them with the San Diego Charg­ers head­ing to town in six days and Hous­ton need­ing a win to re­main in con­trol of the AFC South. Hous­ton (6-4) re­mains atop their di­vi­sion, but the loss put them within one game of the sec­ond-place Colts.

“The feel­ing in that locker room af­ter that game is there’s a lot of foot­ball left and we have a lot to build on from that game,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “Be­ing in first place is a good thing. The other teams in the di­vi­sion are play­ing pretty de­cent. So we’ve got to un­der­stand what is com­ing down the road here, but the first thing is San Diego, get­ting a good start on them on Wed­nes­day.”

O’Brien didn’t want to dis­cuss any of the calls from Monday night on Tues­day, but he did ad­dress the laser pointer af­ter learn­ing more about what happened since his postgame news con­fer­ence. He said that run­ning back La­mar Miller had it pointed in his face along with Osweiler.

“It doesn’t even en­ter your mind that some­one would bring a laser into a game and point it at one of your play­ers ... I think that’s ter­ri­ble,” O’Brien said. “I don’t know what you can do about it.”

While deal­ing with the laser pointer and the ques­tion­able calls by the ref­er­ees cer­tainly weren’t ideal for the Tex­ans, they can’t blame the loss en­tirely on those things. Their de­fense played great for three quar­ters be­fore a 75-yard touch­down re­cep­tion by Jamize Olawale tied things up and Amari Cooper took a screen pass 35 yards for the win­ning touch­down.

Hous­ton’s pass de­fense en­tered the game ranked third in the NFL and the Tex­ans had a rush de­fense that was among the worst in the league. On Monday night, the Tex­ans al­lowed just 30 yards rush­ing, but were hurt by the re­ceiv­ing of the Oak­land’s run­ning backs, who com­bined for 199 yards re­ceiv­ing. “There were some missed tack­les. Give them credit,” O’Brien said. “But on a pos­i­tive note, we held them to 30 yards rush­ing. So in the last three games we’ve done a good job against the run, but last night their run­ning backs did a good job about us in the pass­ing game. No doubt about it.”

A pos­i­tive to come out of Monday night’s game was the con­tin­ued strong play of de­fen­sive end Jade­veon Clowney , the top over­all pick in the 2014 draft. Clowney, who was slowed by in­juries in his first two sea­sons, had five tack­les, in­clud­ing two for losses, to give him 12 tack­les for losses this sea­son.

“He was very dis­rup­tive in the game even when he didn’t make a play,” O’Brien said. “He’s hav­ing a good year for us and the key for him, like all of our play­ers at this time of the year, is stay­ing healthy. But I thought he re­ally im­pacted the game last.”

Osweiler, who has been in­con­sis­tent in his first sea­son in Hous­ton, wasn’t great on Monday, but O’Brien be­lieves that he is mak­ing progress. He threw for 243 yards on Monday af­ter man­ag­ing just 99 yards pass­ing last week in a win over Jack­sonville.

“I think he played one of his bet­ter games and I think if he can con­tinue to keep get­ting more com­fort­able, bet­ter and bet­ter with our of­fense you’re go­ing to see im­prove­ment ev­ery week,” O’Brien said.

Wild Fans

The NFL says 76,473 fans were at the game, and the at­mos­phere was very dif­fer­ent from the more neu­tral crowd for games in London. Thou­sands of other foot­ball fans at­tended a week­end­long fan fest.

Al­though many wore sil­ver and black, it was clear that the Cow­boys, Tex­ans, Steel­ers and Bron­cos also have fans south of the bor­der.

“Be­sides the game, we had an ex­cel­lent trip here, great ex­pe­ri­ence for our play­ers. Un­be­liev­able crowd. Just a re­ally cool at­mos­phere for both teams,” O’Brien said. “It was a great trip as far as that’s con­cerned.”

Be­fore the game, there was con­cern that Mex­i­can fans could boo the U.S. national an­them be­cause of the political ten­sion since Don­ald Trump was elected pres­i­dent, but the crowd did not .

“Cer­tainly, hav­ing a laser zoomed in on your eyeball def­i­nitely af­fects how you play,” Osweiler said.

DARIO LOPEZ-MILLS — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Oak­land Raiders wide re­ceiver Amari Coope gets away from Hous­ton Tex­ans corner­back A.J. Bouye (21) and de­fen­sive end Chris­tian Cov­ing­ton (95) on his way to scor­ing a touch­down in Mex­ico City on Monday.

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