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Texans-Colts postgame notebook


The Texans' offensive line and running backs did an excellent job of sparking the run game. The team totaled 177 yards rushing and averaged 7.1 a carry. But that was not enough to secure a Texans' victory as the team fell 33-27 to the Colts.

Slaton steals the show: Running back Steve Slaton looked like a one-man highlight show against the Colts, rushing for 156 yards on 14 carries. The rookie also scored on a 71-yard run, which was the longest run in team history.

"They had everybody stacked in the box because it was third-and-short," Slaton said. "I mean, that happened on our first drive because it was third-and-short. I got a pretty big run, but I fumbled the ball. This time it happened, and there was just nobody anywhere."

Slaton broke free on a 23-yard run in the first quarter but fumbled the ball. It was recovered by tight end Owen Daniels and the drive ended with the Texans kicking a 28-yard field goal.

On Slaton's touchdown run in the third quarter, there wasn't anyone coming close to knocking the ball away. The running back made a cut up the middle, broke a tackle and was home free. But to make sure, he peaked up at the JumboTron.

"Guys on this level are a lot faster, and it was a pretty long run," Slaton said. "So I took a glance at the JumboTron to see if anyone was behind me."

Slaton's career-setting day came after a week of much needed rest. Coach Gary Kubiak had limited Slaton's reps because he was worried the running back had gotten worn down at Minnesota where he was the only ball carrier.

"I was concerned with the kid," Kubiak said. "I think we really wore him slick in Minnesota, and he had a rough week last week. We knew it and we were trying to freshen him back up. Obviously, it was the right thing to do. He's a fine, young football player, and he's got a very bright future."

The touchdown was Slaton's sixth this year on the ground and his seventh overall. His seven touchdowns rank second on the Texans' rookie scoring list behind only running back Domanick Williams' eight touchdowns in 2003.

Committed to the run: The Texans knew that to beat the Colts they would have to be successful on the ground. Running the ball would allow them to control the clock, neutralize the Colts' pass rush and keep quarterback Peyton Manning off the field.

The Texans were able to get things going with their running game, thanks to Slaton. They finished with 177 yards rushing and averaged 7.1 a carry. Ahman Green scored twice and he topped 9,000 career rushing yards with a two-yard gain in the fourth quarter

"That was the whole reason we were in that game was our running game," quarterback Sage Rosenfels said. "We ran the ball fairly well against them the last time we played. That's what we knew we wanted to do this time. You just don't want to throw the ball 40 times against them with the way they pass rush because that's really all their defensive line does is pass rush."

Rosenfels was sacked twice by end Dwight Freeney, who beat left tackle Duane Brown both times.

"They totally sell out," Rosenfels said. "It's what they get paid a lot of money to do, and they're great at it. They are as good as anyone in the league in pass rushing. So you want to run the ball and that's what we did. And our offensive line did a great job and our backs did a great job."

The running game also helped set up some several play action passes with Rosenfels connecting with Kevin Walter for a 61-yard catch, the longest in the receiver's career.

"I think that everyone that plays them says you've got to run the football because when you run the football, then it sets up the play action that we do," Rosenfels said. "We hit a couple of those down the field."

Adibi grades high: Rookie linebacker Xavier Adibi had a strong outing, starting at the weakside position for Morlon Greenwood (fibula). Adibi led the team in total tackles with 14, including 13 solos. He also showed great closing speed, which is why the Texans selected him in the fourth round of the draft out of Virginia Tech.

{QUOTE}The defense as whole graded out well in the first half, limiting the Colts to 37 yards rushing and 3.1 a carry. The second half was a different story as the Texans gave up 24 points and allowed the Colts to rush for 117 yards. Indy racked up 302 yards of total offense in the final two quarters.

"The bottom line is we didn't stop them," Kubiak said. "You want to make this team run the ball, obviously. We felt like we did a good job of that throughout the first half. The second half, it shows you what kind of patience they have. They said, 'OK, if you want us to run it, we'll run it.' We obviously didn't do a good enough job.

"We started to get down into some eight-man fronts, and when we did that, they started picking us apart. Credit to Peyton and their football team and their patience. We had a hard time stopping them in the second half."

Almost not good enough: The Texans were close to snagging their first win at Indianapolis. For the first time in franchise history they led at halftime with a 13-9 advantage.

Despite struggling defensively, Houston got within three points in the fourth quarter on a two-yard touchdown run by Green. But an interception on the final drive sealed the Texans' fate.

Coming that close to winning didn't seem like much of a consolation to the players or coaches.

"This over the past seven years has been one of the premier teams in the league, and we played right with them twice this year," Rosenfels said. "We didn't beat them, and that's tough to take. But we know we are a good football team. We are better than our record, but our record is who we are right now."

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