The day after the 28-21 loss to Arizona, head coach Gary Kubiak and various players answered questions from the media.
Brisiel out: Starting right guard Mike Brisiel suffered a foot injury late in the Cardinals game on a fourth-quarter run by Steve Slaton. Brisiel finished the game despite the injury, but Kubiak said that "it doesn't look good right now."
If Brisiel were to miss any time, Kubiak indicated that Chris White and rookie Antoine Caldwell would probably split time at his position. The *Houston Chronicle *reported on Tuesday morning that Brisiel will be placed on injured reserve and miss the rest of the season.
Brisiel wasn't the only one injured in Arizona. Kubiak said linebacker Zac Diles "banged his shoulder a bit". The head coach also said he would be able to say more tomorrow about Brisiel's staus.
Run woes: Even though the Texans outgained the Cardinals by a single yard (45 to 44) running the football Sunday, it was yard 46 that was the focus of a lot of talk after the game and on Monday at Kubiak's press conference.
The Texans' inability to hammer it in on fourth-and-goal inside the one-yard line raised the question Monday of whether or not Kubiak was considering a change in personnel, and he said no.
"I believe in Chris (Brown)," Kubiak said. "He got in on the same play earlier in the game, so no, I'm not right there right now."
Silver lining?: The day after the loss to Arizona, Kubiak and the players agreed that Sunday's contest was a game that slipped away. While they were all disappointed, the players agreed that coming back from the three-touchdown deficit at the half was a positive upon which they could build.
"You take a lot from that," fullback Vonta Leach said. "We could have easily put ourselves in the tank when we were down 21-nothing at halftime. For us to be in the position just to win the game, it just tells you how close we are to being a good team. If we clean up on the mental errors we're going to be pretty good."
Left tackle Duane Brown concurred, and liked the spirit he and his teammates showed in the loss.
"It's very encouraging for us," Brown said. "When you're down 21-nothing against that kind of team, and you know the kind of explosive offense they have, and that their defense pitched a shutout in the first half, to come out and still have a chance to win the game, will help us move forward."
For Kubiak, the main reason for success in the second half was simple.
"I think the second half is all predicated on third downs," Kubiak said. "If you look at the first half of the game, we had six third downs. When you're 0-for-6, you're eliminating 18 plays of your offensive football team right there. I think that was the key for the first half."
Revisiting "the catch": Wide receiver Andre Johnson's second touchdown Sunday against Arizona was an impressive one, and when asked about it on Sunday, he admitted that he didn't know he was in the end zone when he was finally tackled.
After he had the chance to watch it on film, he expounded on the scoring reception he calls "the best play I've probably made."
"I was able to keep my balance," Johnson said of the 17-yard catch that tied the game at 21-21. "The guy threw himself at me and I was trying to do everything I could to get in the end zone. It was a good play at that time in the game and I think it kind of gave the team a lift, also."
Johnson bulled through three Cardinal defenders after gathering in the Matt Schaub pass, and one of the most memorable aspects of the touchdown was his head-over-heels-inducing collision with Gerald Hayes.
"I think by him not having his feet on the ground and not having the base, that's what made me bounce off of him," Johnson said of Hayes.
Barwin's homecoming: Yesterday was a homecoming for defensive end Antonio Smith. He spent the previous five seasons with the Cardinals and was thought of highly both on and off the field.
This Sunday against the Bengals, another Texans defensive end heads back to a site of recent glory. Rookie Connor Barwin starred for the Cincinnati Bearcats as a defensive end last season after spending his first three years on campus as a tight end. He registered 12 sacks in 2008 and has a lot of folks back on campus excited about his return.
"I've heard from everybody back there," Barwin said Monday. "I'm definitely excited to go back."
In 2007 and 2008, while Barwin was a Bearcat, the Bengals won a combined 11 games. Through the first five weeks of 2009, they're 4-1. Barwin is enthused about returning home against a Bengals squad that is relevant again.
"I'm happy for the Bengals, that's good," Barwin said. "But it's going to be a good challenge for us. It's just crazy to think that I'm going back there to play against the Bengals. It's kind of weird for me."