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Texans-Vikings postgame notebook


The Texans' three-game winning streak came to an end at Minnesota on Sunday with the Vikings handing them a 28-21 loss. The Texans gained 389 net yards of offense, but hurt themselves by committing three turnovers and five penalties.

Schaub goes down: Quarterback Matt Schaub's left knee buckled when he took two separate hits in the first half, one coming on the first play of the game. During halftime, doctors diagnosed the injury as a sprained knee.

"I watched him limp through the last five or six minutes of the first half," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "He came in and saw the doctors and couple of them said he would have a hard time out there protecting himself."

Schaub pleaded with the coach to play, but with Kubiak took one look at Schaub's swollen and stiff knee and decided to go with Sage Rosenfels for the remaining two quarters.

"He was convinced he could stay," Kubiak said. "I watched as he worked through that second quarter, he still made a couple of plays. But when he came in at halftime, the knee had swelled. It had obviously stiffened up when I watched him come out in the second half and try to drop back. After what the doctors had told me and what I saw, it made no sense. I thought Sage gave us the best chance."

{QUOTE}In the first half, the offensive line struggled to protect Schaub, who had been red hot in his last three starts. Schaub was sacked three times and took a slew of hard hits. The quarterback finished the game with 139 passing yards, an interception and a fumble.

"I came off a fake and someone was in my face, and I've just got to hold on to that ball," Schaub said. "The guy was able to knock it out of there, but I know when I get sacked I've just got to cover the ball and protect it so we can live for another down."

OD goes all day: Going all day for the Texans was tight end Owen Daniels, who led the team in receptions with 11 for 133 receiving yards. It was the first 100-yard game in his career.

Daniels made several huge grabs over the middle for first downs and he took advantage of the Vikings' deep double coverage on wide receiver Andre Johnson.

"When they play two-deep, the tight end should make some plays," Kubiak said. "I think Owen caught 11 balls today, so he did his part. He did a good job of doing that, and give him credit."

Johnson, who recorded 41 catches for 493 receiving yards in October, was held to four catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. The Vikings took Johnson out the game by playing aggressive Cover 2 coverage.

The Texans tried moving the Pro Bowl receiver to the X and Z positions, but Vikings cornerbacks Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin were relentless.

"They played a guy over the top the entire game," Rosenfels said. "They never in the entire game, unless it was third-and-one, had true man-to-man coverage. That helps because we didn't run the ball quite as good as we liked to and they played a lot of Cover 2. And if you play Cover 2, you can double guys."

Sage gets his shot: Sage Rosenfels, an Iowa native with a huge group of family and friends making the short drive to Minnesota, got his first chance under center since committing three turnovers in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter in a loss to the Colts.

"We'll it was hard after the Colts game to sit back for four weeks and contemplate the mistakes I made in that game," Rosenfels said. "But it was nice to be out there and just execute and be with the guys and make things happen. We moved the ball up and down the field in the fourth quarter. We just didn't make the plays we needed to make."

Rosenfels took over at the beginning of the third quarter with the Texans down 7-21 and immediately led the offense on a scoring drive that resulted in a three-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver David Anderson.

Things were not as smooth for the quarterback after that. On third-and-inches from the Minnesota 18, he threw an interception on a pass intended for wideout Kevin Walter.

"In hindsight, I should have just called a timeout, but I thought we might have something. I thought we would get man-to-man coverage and have a couple crossing routes," Rosenfels said. "And I had Kevin Walter on that play, I just under threw it."

Kubiak thought the Texans had gained a first down on the previous play and was surprised by the referee's call. With the play clock dwindling, Rosenfels was forced to call the play to Walter.

"Sage made a call, which we instruct him to do," Kubiak said. "You know, we give him things to go through. Hindsight is twenty-twenty. I wish I had burned a timeout. We had already burned one, but I sure as heck wish I had burned another one right there."

Rosenfels led the Texans on another scoring drive late in the fourth quarter, hooking up with Johnson on a 14-yard touchdown pass. The score got the Texans within a touchdown of the Vikings with less than three minutes to play.

After the Texans' defense forced a three-and-out, Rosenfels took the field with a little less than two minutes on the clock. He completed a five-yard pass to Daniels, but the drive ended when Rosenfels subsequently was sacked twice.

"You can't not feel the pass rush," Rosenfels said. "Jared Allen is one of the best players in this league. He's worth every dime of what they pay him, and the inside guys are no joke either. They can pass rush and bull rush and do all the things. It's hard to step up in the pocket with those big guys and Allen coming around the end. Their front four is as good as there is in this league."

Defense holds up: The Texans defense held the Vikings to six-of-13 on third downs and came up big in crucial situations, especially in the second half.

Their weakest moment came on the first drive of the game when they gave up a 55-yard pass from quarterback Gus Frerotte to receiver Bernard Berrian. That play helped set up a one-yard touchdown run by Adrian "All Day" Peterson.

The Texans, however, answered back when cornerback Jacques Reeves picked off a pass intended for Berrian and retured it 44 yards to even the score. It was Reeves' first touchdown of his career.

Also making big plays for the Texans were defensive ends Earl Cochran and Mario Williams, who each sacked Frerotte. Williams' sack for a six-yard loss in the third quarter was his eighth of the season.

As for containing running back Peterson, the mission sort of was accomplished.

Peterson finished with 25 carries for 139 yards and a touchdown. But the Texans made sure he didn't get free on many breakaway runs.

"We couldn't stop him all day," Kubiak said. "We knew that. It was a matter of containing him and hoping he doesn't get out for any big runs. We gave up a couple of big runs in the 20- to 30-yard range, but, for the most part, I thought our defense held him in check and gave us a chance to get the job done. But we didn't get it done."

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