Indy has been unfriendly to Texans

The Houston Texans will attempt to end the worst skid in

franchise history in a place where they’ve never won.

Houston plays the Colts on Sunday, looking to stop an 11-game

losing streak and win for the first time in Indianapolis. The

Texans also have lost 11 in a row there.

Running back Ben Tate said they aren’t worried about where

they’re playing this week, all they’re focused on is winning.

”If we can get it anywhere, if we play in a parking lot – just

getting a win,” Tate said. ”I don’t think it really matters. I

don’t know how much coaches are really thinking or going to

emphasize that. It’s just getting a win period. I don’t care if we

play them at the Galleria mall. We just want to win.”

Though some Texans noted that playing in Indianapolis is louder

than many places, they couldn’t pinpoint exactly why they’ve had so

much trouble there.

”I have no answer for that other than we just haven’t,” said

Andre Johnson, who has been on the team for all but the first trip

to Indianapolis in 2002.

Johnson said that the old RCA Dome was louder and more difficult

to play in than Lucas Oil Stadium.

Houston has certainly had some good chances to pick up wins

there, but has fell short time after time. In the early days of the

franchise, they were rarely even competitive in Indianapolis. Their

first six losses there were by an average of more than 19

points.

They’ve fared better since the new stadium opened in 2008 and

have lost by more than a touchdown only twice. They came closest to

ending the skid in 2011, but Reggie Wayne caught a 1-yard touchdown

pass with 19 seconds left to give the Colts a 19-16 win.

”I can’t tell you that there’s one specific reason why this

team has never won there,” defensive end J.J. Watt said.

”Obviously, we’re looking to change that. That’s never something

that you want to have on your resume.”

They’ll try to turn things around in the first game since coach

Gary Kubiak was fired on Friday. Wade Phillips is the interim

coach, and he mixed up some things in practice Wednesday in an

attempt to get Houston back on track.

He also invited a Big 12 officiating crew to Wednesday’s

practice. They called penalties in practice to try and limit

Houston’s miscues in that area after the team piled up a

franchise-record 177 yards of penalties in Thursday’s loss to

Jacksonville.

”We want to over-emphasize certainly that area so that we can

cut down on the number of penalties we have,” Phillips said. ”The

only way I know how to do it is attack the problem, so that’s what

we did there.”

Tate thought the tactic was a good idea.

”If you don’t work on it all of the time, then how can you do

it when it comes to the game,” Tate said. ”If you don’t have to

think about it during practice, you’re not worried about getting a

flag during practice, then how are you going to do it in

games?”

Also on Wednesday, Phillips, who is the team’s defensive

coordinator as well as head coach, revealed how the play-calling

will go on Sunday. He said that offensive coordinator Rick Dennison

will call the offensive plays with the help of several other

coaches, and that defensive backs coach Vance Joseph will make the

defensive calls with the help of Phillips.

Though, he won’t call any of the plays himself, Phillips noted

that he will be heavily involved in the decision-making

offensively. Phillips is 82-61 in 12 seasons as a head coach.

”The head coach (has) to be aware of situations,” he said. ”I

think there’s a lot to game situations as far as making calls as

far as whether you run or pass, whether you punt, whether you go

for it on fourth down, whether you kick a field goal. All of those

things come into, I think, helping to win or lose ball games,

especially close games. I try to be on top of that.”

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org