The Texans are eager to bottle up much of what they showed through three quarters against the Raiders as they return home to host Tennessee on Sunday. There were plenty of encouraging signs to point to as positive indicators when they resume play in the AFC South.
But they know they can't conduct business the way they did in the final frame in Las Vegas if they're going to leave the stadium happy.
For a while, the Texans were living up to putting on the kind of show worthy of the entertainment capital of the world.
They traded punch after punch with the resident NFL team, like so many fights that have gone down on the nearby Las Vegas strip.
Then came the final rounds and the Raiders made the plays while the Texans made mistakes that put them on the ropes and ultimately, the mat.
It's not for lack of effort. The young and scrappy Texans were playing their hearts out. In the end, Josh Jacobs, Derek Carr and the Raider receiving crew proved to be too much to overcome in a hostile environment.
Three fourth quarter pre-snap penalties played a huge part in this loss.
The first happened with a Vegas 2nd and ten at the Texans 42-yard-line. An offside flag made it 2nd and five and, a play later, the Raiders were working with a fresh set of downs on their way to a touchdown.
The second happened on offense on the ensuing drive with the Texans trailing by four (another close deficit in the 4th quarter with a golden chance to do something about it). Faced with fourth-and-a-foot from the Houston 33, the Texans were set to go for it until a false start forced a punt.
After that, the Raiders were on the march again. This time they had the ball at the Houston 20-yard line and were going to go for it on 4th and one. They ultimately didn't need to because another offside penalty gave Las Vegas a first down at the Houston 15. A play later, Josh Jacobs ran for his third TD to all but put it away.
No one knows how those plays would have turned out without the flags but I would've loved to find out. The Texans made a lot of good plays but are not good enough yet to consistently overcome unforced pre-snap errors.
Davis Mills was playing his best game of the season until a pick six, with the Texans down 11, made it checkmate for the Raiders. He threw two TDs and racked up over 300 yards.
Dameon Pierce ran hard and well, carrying the ball 20 times for 92 yards. Phillip Dorsett and Chris Moore caught TDs while Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins and Jordan Akins all made big plays.
It just wasn't enough to offset 143 yards from Josh Jacobs and some key throws by Derek Carr.
Now comes Tennessee. The Texans haven't lost in the division and the Titans enter NRG stadium with the best AFC South record and a stout Derrick Henty-led rushing attack. Another week brings another opportunity to get on a roll.
For much of the game in Vegas, the Texans looked the part of a team ready to stack back-to-back wins. Now they'll look to come home and make something positive happen in the AFC South next week.