Young Texans secondary takes its lumps

*Watch the live streaming video of coach Gary Kubiak's weekly press conference at 3:30 p.m. CT Monday on Texans TV.

The Texans gained attention by choosing to go with a young and mostly untested secondary in 2010 and they've continued to get plenty of notice from opposing quarterbacks since the season started.

Tony Romo followed a well-established trend Sunday but lighting up the young defensive backfield with two touchdown passes and 284 passing yards in a 27-13 victory that snapped Houston's six-game winning streak dating back to last season. 

"They attacked us and we have to find a way to stop the attack," safety Bernard Pollard said. "Until we do that, teams are going to come here and we're going to go there and teams are going to bombs away on us.  You don't want that in the NFL. These receivers can run and quarterbacks are accurate.  We've got to stop it."

Picking on the young Texans cornerbacks is nothing new this season.

Indianapolis and Washington rolled up big yards against the Texans and Romo had another big day.

Romo completed 23 of 30 passes. Roy Williams finished with five catches for 117 yards, including touchdowns of 63 and 15 yards.  Tight end Jason Witten caught seven passes for 56 yards.

"We had opportunities and we didn't get the job done," second year cornerback Brice McCain said.  "We gave up big plays and we didn't win on third down.  That was about it.  It's tough.  We come in expecting to win a big game like this and we didn't get the job done.

"We've just got to go back to work.  It's only week three. We pride ourselves in trying to win the turnover battle and we lost it today. Nine times out of 10, you lose the turnover battle, you lose the game.

Today they made more plays than we did."

The Cowboys intercepted Matt Schaub twice and sacked him four times for 25 yards in losses.

Coach Gary Kubiak made the decision to go young at the cornerback position this season.  Glover Quin, in his second year, and rookie first round pick Kareem Jackson are the starting corners and for the third straight week were treated rudely by the opposing quarterback.

"That's a part of the league," Kubiak said.  "I think Kareem has a lot of confidence as a person and as a player.  People are going to come after him.  He's young, they're all young.  It's not just Kareem. He's going to have to step up to the plate.  That's the way we're going and we've got to find a way to get it done."

Cowboys receivers repeatedly got behind the Texans' defense.  Dallas was leading 10-3 when Williams caught a 15-yard touchdown pass and he broke away down the sidelines in the fourth quarter for his 63-yard score.

"It was a tough day, another day we gave up big plays," Jackson said. "We've got to go out and correct it.  That's all that can be said.

It's definitely a learning experience.  For me, playing like that, it's definitely a learning experience. We've got to correct it."

It was a disappointing afternoon for the Texans, who were trying to make their first 3-0 start.  They beat the Cowboys in the preseason.

"They didn't do anything we didn't expect," Quin said. "We had them in third and longs and they made the plays.  That's something we have to get better at.  It's an issue.  It's on us as a team and as a defense. We've got to get it fixed.

"They ran the same stuff as in the preseason.  They just made plays."

The defense isn't using youth as an excuse.

"We need to answer this game here and shut up everybody and go out and play," Quin said. "We are young group but we've still got to make plays."

The Texans gave up big passing yards in their first two games but they won. That doesn't satisfy McCain.

"I don't want to live with any of it," McCain said. "We've got to come back and win.  There are no confidence issues at all.  We know what we're capable of doing and come back and do it."

Jackson wasn't ducking the issue.

"How I played was not acceptable, I've got to get better and do things differently," he said. I don't think the issue is our confidence.

We've got a good group.  We are confident. Everybody is saying we're young but that doesn't matter.  We've got to come out and make plays like everybody else.

"This is the NFL, everybody has good quarterbacks, I give them credit.

 At the same time, we didn't come out and do the things we were supposed to do in the back end.  Anytime you're giving up 27 points like that you can't expect to win in this league.

"You always will face adversity.  It's how you bounce back from it."

Pollard couldn't accept the spotty play by the defense.

"We continue to give up plays, we've got to stop making mistakes,"

Pollard said. "We can't give up 27 points.  We have to find some way somehow to man up and to stop this passing attack.  It's been ridiculous. We've got to be sound."

Improvement is the only solution in Pollard's view.

"We're young but at the end of the day nobody's giving money back so you have to improve," he said. "If you're not going to give money back you've got to improve.  We've got to improve.  Yes, we're young, but at the end of the day these young players are making a lot of money and none will give money back.

"I'm not putting it on any individual.  As a defensive unit we have to get better in the passing game.  We're doing a great job with the run.

 The passing yards has been two-three weeks in a row, we can't do that.

 This is fixable."

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 teams.

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