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Texans trying to end on high note


Matt Schaub wants to end the season with a win in a game that has playoff implications for the Chicago Bears.

There's no spin coach Gary Kubiak wants to put on Sunday's regular season finale against the Chicago Bears other than to win. The chance for the first winning season in franchise history ended in the mud in Oakland on Sunday.

What now to end the year? Spoiler? Look at players for next year? Close out on a happy note? Forget it, just win the game.

"It's great for us, it's what we need especially what we went through last week," Kubiak said. "We need a team coming in here that's going to play as good as they can play and this team will. We need a big-time test as we end this season, so we're looking forward to it."

The Bears are excited after their overtime victory over Green Bay on Monday night and they're still in the playoff chase. It would have been a more appealing fan matchup if the Texans were fighting for a 9-7 record, their first winning ledger in their seven-year history.

"That's not our football team, the way we played last week," wide receiver Kevin Walter said. "We're definitely going to be more amped up. I don't know why we weren't ready to play, but we weren't last week. But we're moving on."

Sunday's 27-16 loss to the Raiders ended that possibility. Now Kubiak would like to get out of the season with a good performance.

"We need to come back and play better," he said. "We're very disappointed in what happened (at Oakland). There's nothing to run away from. We got our tails kicked, coaching, playing, across the board. We get a chance to play here Sunday. We're looking forward to that one."

The Texans have positives to take into the offseason. They can have their second consecutive non-losing season. The Texans have a chance for their first triple-1,000-yard ground gainers.

{QUOTE}Walter needs 124 receiving yards to give the Texans their second 1,000-yard receivers. Andre Johnson has 1,427 yards on 105 catches. Rookie Steve Slaton has rushed for 1,190 yards on 248 carries.

"That would be pretty special, but I've just got to go out there and do my job, making plays and blocking and making first downs," Walter said. "If it happens, great. If not, a win is just as special."

Walter and his teammates would like to close out the season with a victory for the third year in a row.

"Every game is important, not just so we can knock these guys out of the playoffs and be spoilers," Walter said. "They'll come in here amped up. It's going to be a playoff atmosphere for these guys because if they don't win, they don't get in."

Kubiak wants to concentrate on the positive offensive development.

"We've moved the ball pretty good this year when you look at the numbers overall, but when you look at having a back over a 1,000 yards and two receivers over a 1,000, that means you have balance," Kubiak said. "We have more balance because Kevin has become a better player and Steve has stepped in and done a good job."

Kubiak expects his players to rally against the Bears.

"There are highs and lows in this business all the time, I mean, you play a lot of football games, 16 games is a lot of games,'' Kubiak said. "The emotional factor week in and week out - I think you can see around this league and not just our game - comes into play all the time."

Sunday's loss to the Raiders isn't how Kubiak wants to remember his team's performance level.

"You have to be professional about your job and what you're doing," Kubiak said. "You know (Sunday) to me, we just didn't do it at the level that I expect us to do it at or where we're expected to do it at and when we don't do that we're not going to be successful."

Slaton wants the Texans to go home with a winning feeling.

"This is going to be the last one for a long time and one we'll remember a lot," Slaton said. "We've got to go out and finish with a win. We're looking forward to it. It's a playoff game for us and for them. Both teams will bring their best.

"We have a lot of proving to do. They'll try to establish themselves from the first play to the last whistle, so we have to go out and match their intensity."

Quarterback Matt Schaub appeared upset during Sunday's game as opportunities slipped away. He was back on even keel after Tuesday's practice.

"We can't do anything to change what happened on Sunday," Schaub said. "All we can do is go out and win this game. The intensity level will be big no matter what's on the line, playoffs or division titles, or just playing for next season. It's always intense. It's a football game. You're always competing against another guy.

"We're not dwelling on what's happened, we're just going on to the next. We need to end on a positive note and that's beating the Bears this week."

Kubiak doesn't want another week last the last one.

"It's been good the last four weeks but it's not good today," Kubiak said. "We have to go back to work and try to make it better this week."

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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