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Lovie Smith emphasizes finishing games: "We're close"

Two phrases keep continuously popping up inside NRG Stadium this week. The Houston Texans need to finish games and the difference between winning and losing is close.

"At the end of the day, it's about finishing," WR Brandin Cooks said. "Not being able to finish mainly with touchdowns in the red zone versus field goals. That's just the name of the game these past three weeks. In order to do that, we've got to just execute better at the end of the day."

"Guys know we're really close," QB Davis Mills said. "We've just got to come out and continue our efforts through the fourth quarter late in the game when it really matters and just execute at a high level and pull one out at the end."

The Texans have been outscored 30-0 in the fourth quarter of games this year, which have all been within one score. Through three games, Houston has converted just 10-of-40 on third down (25.0 percent) while allowing 15-of-41 (36.6 percent). In the 23-20 loss to Chicago, chunk plays skewed those numbers even more.

"As we look back at it and watch the film to understand how those big yards came, a huge jet sweep that happened, that's a good play on them, we got 50 yards," DL Jonathan Greenard said. "And obviously, I missed a sack and that's another 40 yards so that's almost 100 yards off two attempts already."

Frustrating? Yes
Fixable? Also, yes.

Head Coach Lovie Smith believes his team is close to getting its 0-2-1 season back on track. With the offensive struggles, in particular, Smith wants to see better execution on third down and ball security.

"When I say we're close, we're not going to go in a game where we're not going to make four third-and-1s," Smith said. "We're not going to be third-and-goal from the two and get knocked back to have to kick a field goal. I don't think we're going to have two tipped balls that they're going to intercept. When I say we're a lot closer, we are closer in a lot of different ways. Close doesn't matter an awful lot, that's why we're excited about playing this week. Hopefully the improvements that we've made will be on display."

The Texans will host the (1-2) Los Angeles Chargers in Week 4. Sunday's kickoff from NRG Stadium is set for noon CT on CBS and SportsRadio 610.

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