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ST. LOUIS -News and notes from the Texans' 16-13 victory over the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis:
Brown down: Left tackle Duane Brown suffered a left knee injury and was replaced by Rashad Butler for most of the second half. Butler, a third-round draft pick out of Miami in 2006, helped to hold the Rams without a sack in his first extended action on offense this season.
Brown's status was up in the air after the game.
"I don't know right now," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "Butler came in and played the second half and did a very good job for a kid who hasn't played a lot of football. Duane's got that knee he's been dealing with now for about three weeks, so we'll just keep our fingers crossed that we can rest him this week and still get something out of him next week. But I don't know."
Kubiak said that Brown is having a hard time pushing off of his knee.
"It's not going to change," Kubiak said. "It's going to be that way until the season is over."
Smart signings: The Texans had three sacks in the game. Each came from a player who was added to the roster in 2009. Rookie linebacker Brian Cushing and strong safety Bernard Pollard, a street free agent signee in late September, combined for one sack. The other two belonged to rookie defensive end Connor Barwin and defensive end Antonio Smith, another free agent addition.
It was the second-career sack for Pollard, who led the Texans with 11 tackles on Sunday. Cushing now has 3.0 sacks this season along with his team-high 119 tackles.
Smith has 4.0 sacks this season, all coming in the last seven games. Barwin, a former tight end who's in just his second year on defense, has 3.5 sacks, including 2.5 over the last three games.
Fumbled chance: Rookie running back Arian Foster lost a fumble at the Rams' 19-yard line after a 13-yard reception on the first possession of the game. That not only ended an eight-play, 60-yard drive, it ended Foster's night at running back. He didn't take another snap on offense after fumbling.
"I know I am being hard on him here and that he is a young player, but you play the way you practice," Kubiak said. "On Thursday in practice, he put the ball down on the ground, and in the game, he did the same thing. He is going to protect the ball or he is not going to play. I am disappointed in the way he came out in the game, and the other two guys (Ryan Moats and Chris Brown) deserved a chance."
Foster was set to get increased opportunities after totaling 88 yards on 13 carries and four catches last Sunday. The undrafted rookie out of Tennessee finished with two carries for seven yards and the 13-yard catch, all on the opening drive. Moats had 13 carries for 46 yards. Brown had three carries for two yards but was very involved in pass protection.
Flu not a factor:The Rams cancelled practice last Thursday because of confirmed cases of swine flu on the team, and eight players were listed as questionable with illnesson on the injury report. The swine flu ended up being a relative non-factor in the game, as each of those players, including running back Steven Jackson, was active.
"The one thing we anticipated was possibly if somebody had come in this morning with a sickness, we would have had to do some shuffling, but that didn't happen," Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "Guys bounced back that were ill. I'd have to ask them how they feel now because you put in 60 minutes of a game, I'm sure they're pretty weak. But guys fought through it."
Costly decision:Spagnuolo opted to punt on fourth-and-10 from the Rams 48-yard line with 2:39 left in the game. The punt by Donnie Jones pinned the Texans at their own 15-yard line, but Moats picked up a first down after three consecutive carries. That allowed quarterback Matt Schaub to kneel out the clock after the two-minute warning.
After the game, Spagnuolo explained his decision-making process.
"At that point, we just needed a field goal to tie it and get it to overtime and punt it down in there, which we did, and it's just a matter of… we had enough timeouts, two timeouts, and a two-minute warning," he said. "We were going to be able to get the ball back at decent field goal position and work our way for a field goal, and I had a lot confidence in the offense to do that, so that's why I went with that."
Century club:Wide receiver Andre Johnson started his 100th career game, joining guard Chester Pitts (114) as the only players in Texans history to start 100 or more games.
Linebacker DeMeco Ryans cracked the century mark in tackles, reaching 100 for the fourth consecutive season on his second tackle of the game. Ryans finished the game with seven tackles, giving him 106 on the season.
Game winner:Kris Brown kicked his 13th career game-winning field goal and 10th as a Texan when he hit a 28-yarder to break a 13-13 tie with 4:36 to play.
Brown, who entered the game with the worst field goal percentage of his career, made three-of-four field goals in the game. He converted from 27, 25 and 28 yards. His lone miss came on a 52-yard attempt at the end of the first half that bounced off the right upright.
Crucial pick:Free safety Dominique Barber recorded his first-career interception when he picked off Rams quarterback Craig Null at the Houston 15-yard line in the third quarter.
"It looked like it was going to be a little jump back screen, but luckily I was able to be in the right place at the right time, read the quarterback and make the play," Barber said.
The interception prevented the Rams from turning a fumble by Schaub into points. Barber finished with four tackles in his second start at free safety since Eugene Wilson suffered a season-ending foot injury on Nov. 23.
High school reunion:Barber enjoyed the chance to play on the same field as Rams rookie linebacker James Laurinaitis, Barber's good friend from their football and hockey-playing days together at Wayzata (Minn.) High School. Barber and Lauriniatis keep in touch with each other every couple of weeks during the season.
"After I got the pick, I was kind of trying to talk (trash) a little bit to him," Barber said. "But it was just good to see James, and I hope for the best for him."