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Texans reach milestones


Running back Darius Walker led the team in rushing with 66 yards against the Colts.

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The Texans have reached plenty this season, and there are more on the horizon in Sunday's season finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The biggest gem teetering before their noses would be an unprecedented eighth victory. They've finished 7-9 before (2004), but one more victory would give Houston its first non-losing season in its six-year history.

How important would No. 8 be?

"We don't have enough time to tell you how important it is," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "The key is how important is it to these guys. Today (Wednesday), they showed me it's very important. So let's see what happens. We all want to finish on the right note. We all know what it means."

{QUOTE}The Texans were beaten soundly by Indianapolis last week. That sticks with the players, who want to close the season on a high note.

"This is the Houston Texans representing our team, our families, the organization this Sunday in front of our home fans in the last game of 2007," safety Will Demps said. "We have to take that challenge and say that 8-8 is the biggest thing we have done this year."

The Texans are in position for their big step forward because they are close to surpassing other momentous marks.

  • The Texans need one more touchdown to set a team record of 38 touchdowns in a season.
  • The offense needs 82 net yards to establish a team record 5,129 yards.
  • The defense can continue its team record by getting a sack in its 17th straight game, including last season.
  • The Texans are almost assured of a record for the fewest sacks allowed in a season. They have 21 going into Sunday's game. The record is 36 in 2003. (Hopefully, the Texans will never break their record for most sacks allowed in a season. David Carr probably is still hurting from the 76 times he was dumped in the Texan's inaugural season of 2002.)
  • Individually, Mario Williams is the poster child for reaching goals. From a controversial, injury-plagued rookie year, Williams has been shaking quarterbacks like rag dolls all season. He has 14 sacks and could finish the season leading the NFL after setting a Texans' rookie record of 4.5 sacks last year.
  • Andre Johnson needs a 100-yard receiving day to break his career record of four 100-yard games in a season.
  • Kicker Kris Brown needs one field goal to tie his team record for most field goals in a season with 26.
  • Quarterback Sage Rosenfels needs two touchdown passes to tie David Carr for the team record of 16. Carr set the record in 2004.
  • Tight end Owen Daniels needs one touchdown surpass former tight end Billy Miller for the most touchdowns in a career for a Texans tight end. They are now tied with seven each.

Players shun talking about individual honors in a team sport, especially offensive linemen. Guard Chester Pitts is the only player who has started every game in Texans history.

"Obviously, as a lineman we don't have stats," Pitts said. "We have only one stat and it's a negative one. So you don't want to have stats as an offensive lineman.

"If I was a receiver, would I rather have 1,000 yards or win 10 games? Give me 10 games. To win games, you have to be doing something right. The rest takes care of itself."

Williams acknowledged that league-leading stats are nice, but winning games comes first.

"Anybody would like to lead anything," he said. "Whatever position they are leading, they'd like to lead something."

Running back Darius Walker exceeded his personal goal. He wanted to make the roster. It took him most of the season to get off the practice squad. When he did, it was in a big way.

He started and played every down against Indianapolis. He rushed 19 times for 66 yards and caught six passes for 44 yards and now he'd like to push his experience one more game.

"It's been a lot of work for me leading up to this point," Walker said. "I think I went 10 or 11 weeks before I even got moved up on the roster.

"My whole deal was just trying to make the 53-man roster. To have the opportunity to start two games my rookie season and to play well has been a blessing."

The goals the Texans reached this season are only stepping stones for a playoff run next season.

"You work on things that you know to improve, point to those things and get after it," Williams said. "It's all about taking care of your own self.

"You can have everybody sitting here and saying you need to do this and you need to do that, but in the end it comes out how hard are you going to do whatever you're supposed to do."

Pitts likes the team's improvement. He laments the games that got away from them.

"We're getting there, we're a couple of games away," Pitts said. "If we finish this game at 8-8, we'll say to ourselves all we had to do was find two more. Pick two that we feel we should have won.

"Maybe we should have played better in Atlanta. Maybe we shouldn't have gone to San Diego and laid an egg. Maybe we should have found a way to beat Cleveland. Maybe we should have found a way to pull off that miraculous comeback against Tennessee.

"All of those games ended up in nothing. One game is very important in the NFL."

EDITOR'S NOTE: *Michael A. Lutz worked for The Associated Press for 38 years covering news and sports in Louisville, Ky. Dallas and Houston. Most of that time was spent in Houston covering the Oilers, Astros, Texans and other college and pro sports.

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