Found November 08, 2012 on
Fox Sports Southwest:
HOUSTON (AP) -- The Houston Texans are about to get the ultimate test in holding onto the ball.
The Texans (7-1) have gone two games without a turnover and have committed the fewest (6) of any team heading into Sunday's night's showdown on the road against Chicago (7-1). The Bears, meanwhile, lead the league in takeaways (28) and they're the first team to return seven interceptions for touchdowns through their first eight games of a season.
"These guys are exceptional, they never give up on a play," Houston coach Gary Kubiak said. "We've been good at protecting it, but they're the best at getting it out. We pay attention to it all the time, but we better pay special attention to it this week."
Some nasty weather could add to the challenge for the Texans, who've lost only one fumble all season. The forecast for kickoff time in Chicago calls for rain, temperatures in the 30s and winds gusting around 13-15 mph.
Quarterback Matt Schaub says he's mostly concerned about the blustery conditions at Soldier Field, where the Texans will play for the first time since Dec. 19, 2004. Schaub has only been there once as a pro, in 2005 when he played for Atlanta, and didn't throw a pass.
"It's just something you just have to work through," Schaub said. "You've got to learn to adjust to it. It is what it is, and it's that way for both teams. You've just got to go play."
The Bears had an interception return for a touchdown in three straight games earlier this season, a first for the franchise. During that streak, Chicago joined the 1960 Cleveland Browns as the only teams to record multiple interception returns for TDs in back-to-back games.
Houston safety Danieal Manning, who played for the Bears from 2006-10, has warned the Texans' offensive players about how much Chicago coach Lovie Smith stresses the importance of forcing turnovers and the kinds of drills the Bears use in practice to work on it.
"He sets up stations where he has stripping and turnover drills," Manning said. "They believe in that. They've bought into the system. It's obviously been working for them."
On the flip side, Kubiak has emphasized ball security since he worked as Denver's offensive coordinator from 1995-2005. The Broncos produced more yards and touchdowns than any other team in that span, while their turnover total was among the 10 lowest in seven of those seasons. The '05 team had an NFL-low 16 giveaways.
Kubiak became Houston's coach in 2006. The Texans have cut down their turnovers in recent years after coughing up more than 30 in 2007 and '08. They had a franchise-low 18 in 2010 and 20 last season, among the six lowest totals in the league both times.
Smith said eliminating turnovers has become ingrained with the Houston offense under Kubiak, just as generating takeaways has become part of Chicago's defensive identity.
"As I talk about the culture around here, that's the culture around there, it's expected," Smith said. "I'm sure they practice it each day. In order for them to be successful, that's a base part of what they do weekly. That's just who they are."
Kubiak points to the continuity of the offense more than his offensive system. Schaub has been the starter since he arrived in a trade with Atlanta in 2007, and he's had Arian Foster behind him in the backfield for 2 seasons. Leading receiver Andre Johnson is the last holdover from before Kubiak arrived and sure-handed tight end Owen Daniels and receiver Kevin Walter have been starting since 2006.
"It's a matter of guys playing a lot of football together," Kubiak said. "We can show our players on paper what it does for our team if we handle the ball. Arian's played a lot of ball with Matt. All of our guys have played a lot of football together. The more you keep a group together, the better they'll perform from that standpoint."
The Bears have generated at least four turnovers in half their games, and at least two in all of them. Linebacker Brian Urlacher said their challenge this week is forcing miscues by a quarterback and an offense that doesn't make many.
Schaub has thrown four interceptions in 249 attempts and he's only been sacked 10 times. Foster, meanwhile, hasn't fumbled in a league-high 192 carries.
"Schaub doesn't make dumb throws, Foster doesn't fumble, so that's a pretty good combination right there," Urlacher said. "He (Schaub) doesn't get sacked a lot, either, so there's not going to be a lot of fumbles. They don't get in a lot of bad situations, either."
Still, Kubiak is making his scout-team defense poke and jab at ballcarriers in practice this week, trying to simulate the Bears' aggressiveness.
"You've got to protect the ball. You've got to handle that," Kubiak said. "We know it's going to be a physical contest. That's the thing we've got to prepare for."
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
This week’s Sunday Night Football game will feature two 7-1 teams, the Houston Texans and the Chicago Bears. Both have played extremely well through the first half of the season, excelling and even dominating in many facets of the game. Attempting to select just one key matchup this week is difficult because there are so many evenly matched battles across the field. Both teams...
This is the section of our SOTT Mid Season Report card and we will run through every position group for the Houston Texans. We focus on the quarterbacks and running backs in this post and give our thoughts on the position group.
The Quarterbacks and Running backs
Matt Schaub: Talk about a new player and new leader, Schaub has been better than ever for the Texans. His pocket awareness an...
Texans coach Gary Kubiak says tight end Owen Daniels was ''very limited' in practice with a back injury on Friday and could miss Sunday's game in Chicago.
Daniels, Houston's second-leading receiver, sat out practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Kubiak says he'll be a ''game-time decision'' when the Texans (7-1) play the Bears (7-1) on Sunday...
The Houston Texans enter another week extremely banged up,
as the team has 16 players, including tight end Owen Daniels, running backs
Arian Foster and Ben Tate, wide receiver Kevin Walter and defensive tackle
Shaun Cody, on their injury report as they prepare for Sunday’s contest against
the Chicago Bears.
Foster was limited in practice Wednesday, but it was not
Texans nose tackle Shaun Cody briefly left Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills due to "rib issues," Houston coach Gary Kubiak said the next day. However, the Houston Chronicle reported that Cody's condition was more serious. According to the newspaper, Cody sustained broken ribs and a punctured lung. "Shaun has always been able to work through things...
I love unwrapping gifts T…
Houston Texans Tight End Owen Daniels launched his second Owen’s Locker today presented by Walmart at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. The locker will touch the lives of more than 125,000 patients and their families each year. “Walmart is a proud partner with Owen Daniels to help lift the spirits of patients and families while in the hospital...
Today the Houston Texans announced that the team named three new captains to the team. J.J. Watt, Chris Myers and Shiloh Keo were all named as new captains for the Texans at the halfway point of the season.
J.J. Watt has been a terror to opposing offenses and has been a superstar in the making, and now Watt has been rewarded by his teammates for what he has brought to the field for...
The No. 1 spot in our Power Rankings is yet again Houston's to lose. Will a trip to Soldier Field in Week 10 finally knock them from their perch?
The Texans and the Bears meet on Sunday night in the most highly touted game of Week 10, a contest before and during which the phrase “possible Super Bowl preview” will be mentioned with great frequency. While there are other facets to be intrigued by, it’s mostly a showdown of great defenses. The Bears D leads in the NFL in takeaways, while Houston’s ranks third in yardage...
The Texans came out a little slow after their bye week but they were able to step their game up enough to beat the Buffalo Bills 21-9. This moves the Texans to 7-1 and allows them to maintain their lead in the AFC and AFC South standings.
The number of touchdowns the Texans allowed on Sunday. The Bills got into the red zone three times but only got three field goals...
When the Chicago Bears (7-1) and Houston Texans (7-1) meet in Soldier Field on Sunday Night Football, it will be a meeting between two of the top teams in the NFL. The Bears and Texans will undoubtedly be the top matchup in Week 10.These teams mirror each other in the fact that they both have very stout defenses that are backed by solid running games. In a strange but true fact...
Houston Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips told the media today that they plan on double teaming Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall on every play.
I think this is a wise decision by Phillips and the Texans since Marshall is one of the Bears’ dangerous players.
In the NFL the best receivers can beat a double team. We’ll see if Marshall is up to the challenge on Sunday...
The Bears face the top team in the AFC, the 7-1 Houston Texans on Sunday Night Football in what will prove to be a true Black & Blue Showdown.
Much like the Chicago Bears, the Houston Texans rely on their stout defense to carry their sometimes sputtering offense.
The Texans' defense has been giving up just 285 yards of offense per game, good enough for third best in the league. Just like the Bears, they are great at getting to the quarterback, racking up 25 sacks on the season.
J.J. Watt may just be the NFL's...
Two of the top NFL Defensive Players of the Year candidates collide at Soldier Field Sunday night when the Chicago Bears (7-1) play host to the Houston Texans (7-1). The Bears’ Charles Tillman and the Texans’ J.J. Watt are each enjoying standout seasons. Through eight games, Tillman has spearheaded an aggressive Chicago attack unit that not shuts down opponents, but [...]