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Time to stop the run


Brian Cushing, Fred Bennett and the Texans defense hopes to improve against the run

Thomas Jones.

Chris Johnson.

Maurice Jones-Drew.

Those are three cringe-inducing names right now for Texans fans, based on their successive 100-plus yardage performances in each of the first three games.

The month of September wasn't supposed to start this way for first-year defensive coordinator Frank Bush.

"It's frustrating because throughout the week, you think you're doing the right things," Bush said after last Sunday's loss to the Jaguars. "You feel confident about your game plan going into it. When those things happen on game day, it's frustrating because we thought we've covered those basics."

Even though the Texans have allowed a league-worst 615 rushing yards, they say there's nowhere to go but up.

"We've got to stop the run," cornerback Dunta Robinson said. "That has to change. Three straight 100-yard rushers. One guy: two touchdowns. The other guy: three touchdowns. This past guy: three touchdowns. Here is our chance to show people that we can play well against the run. Here's our chance to prove to ourselves that we can stop the run and get some momentum the rest of the way."

With the Raiders coming to town for Sunday's contest at Reliant Stadium, on paper, it's the perfect opportunity for the Texans' defense to perform an about-face and corral a team's opposing run game. But Robinson knows that the Raiders aren't going to make it easy for Houston.

{QUOTE}"They have one big, fast guy," Robinson said of Darren McFadden, a 6-2, 210-pounder in his second NFL season. "The other two backs are just big physical guys. It's going to be difficult, but this is the challenge that you want if you want to get something fixed."

Safety John Busing agrees that the task in front of the Texans' defense is a tough, but not insurmountable, one.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they come out and run the ball a lot," Busing said. "We know our weaknesses, what we've got to correct."

The main correction of which Busing and his teammates speak is blown assignments. Time and again, the Texans have succeeded on first and second down for a series or two, only to see an opposing running back get loose for a big gain to burn Bush's charges. The Texans' defenders say the time to stop the mistakes is now, and there's no better opponent to do it against than the Raiders, who feature running backs McFadden, Michael Bush and Justin Fargas.

"This is the perfect team," Robinson said. "You're playing against a running football team and you know what you're going to get. So let's line up and let's take care of it."

Bush, too, is confident that the time is near for an improvement in his club's defensive performance.

"I think structurally, we know what we're doing," Bush said. "We're confident in our scheme. I think we've just got to make sure every guy is on the same page, every time."

Bush is backed up by head coach Gary Kubiak, who says the blame can't fall squarely on one coach or one player, in particular.

"It's a combination of things," Kubiak said. "Obviously, putting your team in a good call in certain situations, that's half the battle. The other half is playing the defense right. Sometimes you're not going to be perfect. I just think it's still about consistency. Consistency, effort and assignment."

Should the Texans succeed in those three areas Sunday, a victory seems likely. Regardless, they say they're going to fight their way out of a slow start, and they'll do so together.

"It's all of us," Bush said. "We're all in this together. At the end of the day, we've got to go get it done."

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