In addition to committing a quartet of turnovers, the Texans were flagged seven times for 95 yards in Sunday's 38-13 loss to the Rams.
"We just seem to make too many mistakes, key mistakes," head coach Gary Kubiak said.
The miscues all took place in the first half. Houston wasn't penalized after the intermission. But the damage in the first 30 minutes set them back mightily.
"Any time you have penalties, it means you are not disciplined," running back Arian Foster said. "It means you are not focusing. It means you are not harnessing your obligations as a player on this team."
The Texans defense was flagged twice for encroachment, as well as for an unnecessary roughness. The offensive line misfired with a hold, a false start and a facemask penalty.
"There is no excuse for it," Foster said. "Penalties are self-inflicting wounds. You have to stay away from those if you want to be suc cessful at this level and we are not doing that right now."
For safety Ed Reed, the flags were a huge reason the Texans found themselves in a hole from out of which they couldn't climb.
"We can't have the small penalties, the personal fouls, pass interference, turnovers," Reed said. "We played our absolute worst football these past two weeks. We have to change it."
Yardage-wise, the costliest penalty was also the most questionable one. Kareem Jackson was called for a 40-yard pass interference penalty on the second play of the Rams' second possession of the game. A pass intended for Brian Quick was off target and over Quick's head, and the incidental contact Jackson had with the Rams' receiver was dinged.
"I don't know what the refs are looking at as far as what I'm doing wrong," Jackson said. "In my opinion, I think I'm doing what I'm supposed to do. I'm relying on my technique, being on top. I thought we had the right look for the ball and the player just as much as the receiver did."