The Texans fell, 38-24, in a loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
Trailing 21-3 at halftime, Houston was down at one point by as many as five touchdowns before mounting a comeback that fell short.
The Texans put up 414 net yards of offense, including 134 yards rushing, but couldn't overcome a slow start on both sides of the ball and nine penalties for 44 yards.
"It's not just the pass defense, it's the false starts, it's ball security," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "I don't think we really stopped the run very well. I thought our guys fought. I thought they competed till the end, tried to keep competing, but just too big of a lead at halftime."
Deshaun Watson completed 28-of-50 passes for 292 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. He also ran for a pair of scores, finishing with six carries for 44 yards on the ground. DeAndre Hopkins caught a team-high seven catches for 120 yards and a touchdown.
"We turned the ball over, we didn't capitalize on the fourth down," Watson said after the game. "That was pretty much it. We were moving the ball. We got, however many, 400-plus yards. It's wasn't anything we didn't do. We just didn't execute it."
Before they could score, the Texans found themselves in a 21-0 hole. Two early two touchdown passes by Broncos rookie quarterback Drew Lock, coupled with a defensive touchdown by former Texan defensive back Kareem Jackson saw the Texans trailing by three scores with 11:24 remaining in the first half. The Broncos scored on their first five possessions until Tashaun Gipson, Sr came away with an interception. Lock completed 22-of-27 passes for 309 yards, three touchdowns and the one pick.
Denver took a 7-0 lead early after Lock threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to tight end Noah Fant on the Broncos first drive of the game. Denver's defense quickly added to the lead on the Texans second possession. After a fumble by Keke Coutee, Broncos linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu scooped up the ball and handed it to Jackson. He scored a 70-yard touchdown on the fumble return.
Lock's second touchdown of the day to tight end Jeff Heurmann gave Denver a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter.
Both teams exchanged field goals before halftime. Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked a 54-yarder for Houston's first points of the game. Zach Cunningham made a stop on running back Devontae Booker on third down and the Broncos settled for a 36-yarder.
On the next series, Houston failed to convert a fourth-and-one, giving Denver a short field. Lock added another touchdown on a pass to Royce Freeman to cap off a six-play, 36-yard scoring drive.
The Broncos headed into halftime with a 31-3 lead over Houston.
Phillip Lindsay, who rushed for 51 yards on 16 carries, scored on a one-yard run. His touchdown extended Denver's lead to 35.
Hopkins caught a 46-yard touchdown on Houston's first possession of the second half. It capped off a four-play, 70-yard drive. The Texans trailed 38-10 with 7:36 left in the third quarter.
Gipson picked off Lock near the goal line and added a 26-yard return. Watson then led a 12-play, 71-yard scoring drive that ended in a leaping six-yard touchdown run. Houston chipped away at Denver's lead, down 38-17 after the extra point kick. With 25 seconds remaining, Watson scored again on a three-yard touchdown run. Houston successfully executed the ensuing onside kick with A.J. Moore recovering the ball. However, the Broncos would end the Texans final possession, intercepting Watson's pass.
"Obviously, we're trying to clinch this playoff berth and have some postseason games, so we just have to move on to the next and not let this happen again," Johnathan Joseph said.
With the loss, the Texan fall to 8-5 on the season and will next travel to Tennessee to face the Titans.
Houston Texans take on the Denver Broncos at NRG Stadium for the thirteenth game of the 2019 NFL season.