Texans keep spirits high despite 0-3 record

J.J. Watt celebrates a sack of Eli Manning in the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Houston, Texas.
J.J. Watt celebrates a sack of Eli Manning in the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (2018 Getty Images)

HOUSTON – It’s Monday and the sun did rise, but the feeling around NRG Stadium is not good after Sunday’s loss to the Giants that sent the Texans to an 0-3 start to the 2018 season.

“There’s good guys in there but there’s no magic dust or wand, wave it and be OK,” said Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. “We’ve got to figure out how to improve and teach off of the film. Big divisional game coming up. We have to keep grinding because there is no choice. You have to go to work and figure it out. That’s life.”

The Texans' offensive line has been poor for most of the first three games, outside of a productive running game that had Houston ranked No. 1 in rushing across the NFL. That all changed with Sunday’s loss to the Giants, when they were held to well under 100 yards on the ground. Penalties continue to be a factor, with multiple false starts and holding calls in the first three games. Tackle Julie'n Davenport specifically is struggling this season with five false starts and three holding penalties in losses to the Patriots, Titans and Giants.

At 0-3, history is not on the Texans side as only 2 percent of teams that lose their first three games go on to make the playoffs. The last team to do so were the Buffalo Bills in 1998. With the AFC South looking average at best so far and with 13 games remaining, the Texans are not throwing in the towel. There is no finger pointing in the locker room and a consensus that one win can wake up this team. Safety Tyrann Mathieu believes they are close.

“I know I chose the right team,” said Mathieu. “We are facing adversity but 0-3 or 3-0 I know my hand will still be in the pile. I think the positive out of this is we can honestly see they we have beaten ourselves in three straight games by 15 points. We are not that far off but we just have to do a better job of preparing. If our five-star players can play like five-star players then we will be good.”

“I think we have beaten ourselves. Each week is something we can teach off of and build off of. This week we have to have a sense of urgency. We have got to win this game. We have to win,” said Mathieu on Monday at NRG Stadium.

O’Brien was asked Monday about why the fans should believe that he is the right man as head coach of the Texans.

"We’ve got to win. We understand why fans are upset, the game is winning," said O’Brien. “We are not winning. I won’t stand here and give a speech, we just need to go win and hope they stick with us.”

The Texans hit the road again this Sunday when they travel to Indianapolis to take on Andrew Luck and the improved Colts, who nearly upset the defending Super Bowl Championship Philadelphia Eagles but fell to 1-2 to start their season. The Texans and Colts kickoff at noon Sunday.