Texans have 1 more chance to end skid at Tennessee

The Houston Texans have one last chance to end their skid and

avoid tying the worst record in franchise history when they travel

to Tennessee for the season finale Sunday.

Houston’s fans might be hoping for a season-ending 14-game

slide, since another loss would clinch the No. 1 overall pick in

April’s draft.

”It’s something you don’t want to have happen, but who knows,”

Andre Johnson said of the possibility of losing again. ”We’ll see

what happens Sunday. We’re going to go out there and try to win,

and hopefully we don’t have to go into the offseason with a losing


The already banged-up Texans will be in even worse shape against

the Titans because of several new injuries.

Top cornerback Johnathan Joseph is out with a torn ligament in

his big toe and last week’s starting running back Dennis Johnson is

questionable with a hip injury. Deji Karim, his backup in the last

game, is also out after breaking his collarbone Sunday.

That means the Texans are likely to have to start Jonathan

Grimes, whom they signed off the street on Wednesday, at running

back against Tennessee.

Grimes will be the fifth different running back Houston has

started this season.

The Texans lost star Arian Foster for the season after back

surgery in November and backup Ben Tate was placed on the injured

reserve with a rib injury last week.

Interim coach Wade Phillips said they would also sign at least

one running back this week because of the injuries.

There’s also uncertainty at quarterback with Phillips saying

Monday that he isn’t sure if Case Keenum will return this week

after sitting out against the Broncos with a thumb injury.

”We will practice tomorrow and we will see where Case is,”

Phillips said. ”He’s been rehabbing and been in a splint for a

whole week, so we’ll see how he is.”

Matt Schaub, who was benched in favor of Keenum after six games,

started against the Broncos and threw two interceptions and one

touchdown. Phillips wouldn’t commit to Schaub starting again this

week if Keenum isn’t healthy. Houston’s other quarterback is T.J.


”We’re going to look at all of that and see what the situation

is for sure as far as injuries are concerned,” Phillips said when

asked if Schaub would start.

Schaub, who has started for Houston since 2007, hopes to get

another shot against the Titans after his tough game against


”We still have work to do,” Schaub said. ”We want to finish

this thing off right. As a group, we have got to find a way to get

this negative taste out of our mouths, that we have been a part of

for the past few months. We have to find a way to work through that

as a team.”

The 37-13 loss to Denver was the second game with Phillips in

charge since Gary Kubiak was fired. Phillips also coached one game

in place of Kubiak earlier this season after he had a


Houston trailed by just three points entering the fourth quarter

on Sunday before Peyton Manning threw three touchdown passes to

lead Denver to the win.

”They got a lot of points at the end that made it look it

wasn’t a close game but it was a close game,” Phillips said. ”Our

team had an opportunity to win. As an interim coach, that’s what

you want to try to do is get them to the point that they have an

opportunity to win … but it’s not just to get them an opportunity

to win, but also to win the ball game. That’s what we have to do

this last ball game.”

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org