A Christmas Eve loss to the Browns has caused the Texans to turn their collective focus to next Sunday and the Tennessee Titans.
Cleveland triumphed, 36-22, and the defeat knocked Houston's record to 8-7 in 2023. But the AFC playoff picture remains crowded, and the Texans are in striking distance of earning a playoff berth. To make that a reality, though, they need to win.
"There's tough games, tough losses," quarterback Case Keenum said. "It's about getting back up and going back out there and picking yourself up, dusting yourself off. And we still have a chance. We still have some opportunities, a couple more games to go. And see how this thing shakes out."
Keenum and the Texans trailed by a touchdown just 1:42 into the contest, as the Browns capitalized on a 36-yard kickoff return to start the game, and a 53-yard Joe Flacco-to-Amari Cooper completion on the first play from scrimmage. Two snaps later, Cleveland was in the end zone.
Head Coach DeMeco Ryans emphasized that any talk of the postseason is premature.
"We've got to play better football," Ryans said. "Before we have an opportunity to talk about a playoff or get in, we've got to play better. You have to earn those spots to get into the playoffs. So if we go and play better and earn a spot, then we can talk about possibly the playoff race and what does that look like; but until then, we gotta do a much better job collectively."
Wide receiver Nico Collins caught four passes for 18 yards, and one of those receptions was a fourth quarter touchdown. He's got his sights set on bouncing back against Tennessee.
"We got to continue to be ourselves, learn from this game," Collins said. "Watch the film. Watch the Tennessee game from last week because you know they're going to come in with a chip on their shoulder. You know that. Keep being us, and we can reach our end goal at the end of the day."
The Titans fell to the Falcons in Nashville on Sunday, 20-17.