Mama said there'd be days like this…unfortunately, they happen. Every team would like to erase those days from the schedule. And as much as the Texans wish they could re-play yesterday's matchup in Denver, the team is in no way defeated or deflated.
Head coach Dom Capers said his troops are ready to march forward and continue to progress in each of the remaining eight games.
"I told the team afterwards, 'Anytime we lose, we lose as a team' and that's the way it was yesterday," Capers said one day removed from Sunday's 31-13 loss to the Broncos. "There are going to be some bumps in the road. After the first two games we've been able to pick ourselves up and steadily get better over five games. Yesterday was a step back.
"But we've been here before and we've picked ourselves up and come back and gotten better and won."
After dropping to 4-4 at the midway mark of the season, the Texans were outdone by the NFL's fifth-ranked offense and number four defense. The Broncos are the only team in the league to rank in the top five in both categories.
The well-balanced Denver squad made for a tough road trip for the Texans at INVESCO Field at Mile High.
Capers knew that if the Texans offense could erupt early, it would be a tremendous advantage in taking control of the game. And the team did get the start he had hoped for; it just didn't translate into points.
The offense was a productive machine on its opening possession, driving 61 yards and into field goal range, but Kris Brown's 37-yard kick sailed wide right.
The Texans defense was then able to force a three-and-out situation on the Broncos' initial drive and Chad Stanley's punt after the next series was downed at the one-yard line.
After the first quarter, the Broncos held just a 7-0 lead. But penalties and a few big Denver plays made the difference in the final minutes of the first half.
Heading into the locker room, the Texans were down 24-7. Antwan Peek's blocked punt in the second quarter helped to put the Texans on the board, lessening the scoring gap after the Broncos were able to churn out two touchdowns after the two-minute warning, including a 40-yard whopper.
Capers reminded the squad of the Minnesota game in mid-October, when Houston rallied back from a 21-point deficit to send the game into overtime.
"I challenged our team to come out and fight back," Capers said about his halftime speech. "I thought the second half we came back out and fought hard. I was proud of the way our guys fought. We just didn't execute with the kind of consistency that it takes to play on the road against a good football team and come back and get ourselves back into the game."
While the Broncos did outscore Houston 24-7 in the first half, the Texans were able to keep the score at 7-6 in the second half.
A club-high 109 yards in penalties played a major role in a few of the Broncos touchdown drives. And on offense, Houston was only able to produce two big pass plays – a 28-yarder to Jabar Gaffney and 44-yard Derick Armstrong reception. So far this season, the unit has been averaging three or more big plays per game. The absence of those lofty receptions was surely noticed.
On defense, Houston wasn't able to force any turnovers, but they were able to protect the ball on offense, finishing with zero turnovers, always a favorable statistic to possess.
"We're doing a better job in that area," Capers said. "We've only had four turnovers in the last four games. That always gives you chance."
This week, the Texans will grow from past mistakes while preparing for the second-best offense in the NFL in a 4-3 Indianapolis side.
"We know we have to go to Indianapolis, a very tough division game and we've got to pick ourselves up and come back and get ready to play our best football game in Indianapolis," Capers said.
Injury Update: WR Derick Armstrong suffered a back strain after twisting his body during a collision on Sunday. Armstrong, along with RB Tony Hollings (right hamstring), S Ramon Walker (pulled hamstring) and S Jason Simmons (concussion) will be held out of Wednesday's practice session. RT Todd Wade re-aggrevated a sprained ankle and will also be held out on Wednesday.
Back in Action: QB B.J. Symons (knee) and TE Bennie Joppru (groin) will practice for the first time this season on Wednesday after coming off of the PUP list. The two will take snaps with the team to determine whether or not they will be placed on Injured Reserve for the remainder of the season, or if they will be elevated to the Texans 53-man roster or practice squad.