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Texans not complacent as they enter bye atop AFC


The Texans are 6-1 and on top of the AFC as they enter their bye week.

It's the best start in team history through seven games. In their previous 10 seasons, they were never better than 4-3.

The Texans are one of only three teams in the AFC with a winning record. The others are the Baltimore Ravens (5-2), who the Texans just beat by 30 points, and the New England Patriots (4-3), who the Texans play on the road in Week 14.

"I think we're happy, obviously, where we are, but we know that there are still some plays that could be had on the field," Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison said Monday. "We're certainly not resting. The season is not over. It's seven games. We've got nine more to play, one at a time.

"We'll just keep working at it and progress one at a time. We know we're far from home."

After winning 10 games, the AFC South and a playoff game for the first time in team history in 2011, the Texans have had a series of new firsts in 2012. They went 3-0 for the first time in team history, then 4-0, then 5-0. They beat Peyton Manning on the road for the first time in 10 tries. They won a primetime game on the road for the first time in Week 5 at New York. They beat the Jets and Baltimore Ravens, against whom they were a combined 0-11 all-time.

"We've done things that have never been done with this team," defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. "It's still a young franchise, but to take the steps we've taken and won the games we've won has been real special.

"Last year, we had a lot of firsts and the old 'never say never' (attitude), that kind of thing. But it's really nice to have a team that does things that have never been done before. It's an accomplishment. It's something that you strive for, records to be broken, that kind of thing. We've been able to do that this year, and that's pretty impressive."

The Texans lost decisively to the Green Bay Packers in Week 6, allowing Aaron Rodgers to throw for six touchdowns at Reliant Stadium. They're brimming with confidence now after rebounding with a 43-13 victory over the Ravens, the second-most lopsided victory in team history against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season.

Now, the challenge will be avoiding a letdown in the second half of the season.

"When you're winning and when you're on top, people are always gunning for you," said inside linebacker Bradie James, who captained 11- and 13-win teams with the Dallas Cowboys. "It's so important to win going into the bye so you don't have things lingering on while you're supposedly off. You want to be playing some of your best ball going into the bye and then you can tail it down a little bit while you relax, and then you can come back just re-focused, fired up and ready to finish that second half.

"The first half is what it is. One thing about this team, you talk to (head coach Gary Kubiak), and the fabric of this team is just its work ethic. He always talks about just going 1-0. You don't really try to get the whole pie. You just take one piece at a time."

That next piece is the Buffalo Bills, who will visit Reliant Stadium with a 3-4 record and former Texan Mario Williams in Week 9. But that's for next week. The Texans have several days to rest, relax and recover from injuries this week during what is sure to be a very good bye.

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