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Kubiak picks up the pieces


Where do the Texans go from here? It was the question members of the Houston media wanted answered after coach Gary Kubiak had taken 24 hours to digest his team's devastating loss to the Colts. Kubiak answered that question and many more at Monday's press conference.

Kubiak backs Sage: For three quarters, Sage Rosenfels played nearly flawless football. The quarterback, who was starting for a sick Matt Schaub, didn't throw an interception. He brought the best out of Andre Johnson, hitting the Pro Bowl receiver with nine passes for 131 yards and a touchdown.

Then, with less than five minutes left in the game, Rosenfels committed three turnovers that cost the Texans the game.

One was a fumble on a naked bootleg that Kubiak can't thinking about but he believes was the right call.

"It's something that we kept seeing as we were working through the last quarter right there," Kubiak said. "We were working out of a bunch of two-tight personnel, so we knew we had the play whenever we wanted to take the shot. Plus, we had a timeout to talk about it so we felt real good about it. But when things don't work out, you have to sit back and look - was that too tough a situation to put a player in."

Kubiak doesn't think so. He believes Rosenfels can handle the pressure of making that play, and the coach won't shy away running from another bootleg.

"Anytime things don't work out, you naturally sit there and say, 'Could you have done something better? Could you have done something else?' That's natural, but we handled those things pretty well," Kubiak said. "He handled them pretty well throughout the game. He was handling that one pretty well until contact."

{QUOTE}For the most part, Rosenfels' turnovers were caused by his aggressive style of play, which is what got the Texans in a position to win.

"That's the type of player he is," Kubiak said. "He expects to make plays, and that's why he does make plays. I've put myself through that - to be putting him in that situation - should we have just run the ball and punted. I sit there and think about that over and over again, but I trust him so much.

"I don't blame him for being competitive, but we've just got to find a way to hang on to the ball.

"He had his team in tremendous position, and he had done a great job. Nobody's harder on him than he is. Any good player in this league is usually built that way and he's no different. So, it's a very tough day. The players have been there for him since yesterday evening, and they're going to continue to be there for him. They'll rally around him. They think the world of him. He'll work through it. He'll be better through it."

Slaton carries running game: The Texans finally have a potent rushing attack thanks to rookie Steve Slaton, who took over as a starter after Ahman Green went down in the season opener.

Against Indy, Slaton carried the ball 16 times for 93 yards and two touchdowns. The Texans finished with 156 yards on the ground.

"The biggest progress that's been made there has been because of the rookie running back (Slaton)," Kubiak said. "When we were put in that situation where he became the starter back three weeks ago, I don't think any of us really knew how he would handle that load and it's been exceptional. He's really grown up, and now to add something to him, to add Ahman's ability to him should only help him."

Green returned to the field for the first time last Sunday since spraining his ankle and he ran for 47 yards on 12 attempts, giving the Texans their first look at the potential of this two-head monster.

"Ahman looked really good throughout the game," Kubiak said. "I thought he ran very, very well, and that's exciting for us a team to know that those two right now, if Ahman is healthy, give us a heck of a one-two punch, but we've got confidence in both of them."

The Texans are averaging 4.4 yards per carry, thanks to Slaton. The running back has been finding holes up the middle and making game-changing plays like his 41-yard run against the Colts.

With Green returning to the lineup, the Texans' ground game could change the complexion of this offense.

Defensive mismatches: The defensive mismatches created by the Texans last Sunday led to their best effort all season. Mario Williams was able to push aside running backs and fullbacks to get to Peyton Manning for two sacks.

"I thought (defensive coordinator) Richard (Smith) and the guys, game plan-wise, did a good job with a couple of fronts that gave the Colts some problems," Kubiak said. "It created some mismatches where we got Mario on their back a couple of times. It got him on their tight end, free a couple of times."

Amobi Okoye came off the bench for the first time this year to play in situations where the tackle rushed the quarterback.

"I think the way we used Amobi, we cut down his snaps trying to get him in some of the positions - some of the things that we think he does maybe better than others," Kubiak said. "He showed up rushing the passer. He was very close numerous times throughout the game."

The Texans secondary also held up well despite starting two backup safeties in Nick Ferguson and second-year pro Brandon Harrison, who got his career start.

"To go out there and start against this football team for the first time and to have to go there with a safety that hasn't been playing much in Nick, he (Harrison) played the defense very well," Kubiak said. "He disguised well, tackled well, was in very good position.

"So hopefully that will continue, but his growth and maturing as we move forward will have a lot to do with how we improve on defense. We improved a great deal yesterday."

Injury notes: Aside from nicks and bruises, the biggest injury to come out of the game was to safety Dominique Barber, who hurt his hamstring. The team's secondary lost starter C.C. Brown to IR in Week 4 and starter Will Demps will be questionable this week with a hamstring injury.

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