"It's one game."
Ryan Mallett said it on Monday.
So did head coach Bill O'Brien.
But after Mallett's first NFL start, which ended in a double-digit Texans victory at Cleveland, it was
tought to temper enthusiasm and optimism. O'Brien said Mallett's ability to move the offense quickly and decisively down the field was the brightest of bright spots in the 23-7 victory.
"That's one thing that I'd seen in practice: that he understood the rhythm that we wanted to play," O'Brien said. "He had performed that well in practice. So when we continually saw that week-to-week, we knew he was a guy that when he got into the game, he would know how we wanted to play."
Left tackle Duane Brown also liked the rapid pace of the offense, and praised Mallett's leadership of the unit.
"I think he did great," Brown said. "I think from the operation, getting out of the huddle, to getting us to the right play at the line, to deliver the ball well."
Mallett finished the game with a pair of touchdown passes and one interception. He completed 20-of-30 passes for 211 yards, and wasn't sacked. He and the offense won the time of possession battle by holding the ball for 33:53, compared to 26:07 for the Browns. It was a solid debut that resulted in a win, but Mallett was all business the following morning.
"You've got to do it again," Mallett said. "You can't get complacent, obviously. We have to go continue to work and study the film of the Bengals and get ready to go."
O'Brien said the business-like approach by Mallett is another attractive aspect of the fourth-year pro, and that after reviewing the Cleveland game film after the win, Mallett turned his attention to the Bengals.
"I'm sure he was already starting to watch their tape on the plane ride back from Cleveland," O'Brien said.
The Bengals come to town for a Week 12 matchup at NRG Stadium. The Texans have won the last five matchups, which include a pair of playoff victories over the Bengals at NRG Stadium.