HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Texans dealt with a fan's hand-held laser pointed at quarterback Brock Osweiler's eyes, questionable placement of the ball on two key plays and a would-be touchdown that was whistled dead in a loss to Oakland on Monday night.
Sure, the Texans were unhappy with all of those things, but a day later they know that dwelling on what happened in Mexico City won't do them any good this week. The message for the Texans was clear on Tuesday: It's time to move on.
They really have no other choice but to put the 27-20 defeat behind them with the San Diego Chargers heading to town in six days and Houston needing a win to remain in control of the AFC South. Houston (6-4) remains atop their division, but the loss put them within one game of the second-place Colts.
“The feeling in that locker room after that game is there's a lot of football left and we have a lot to build on from that game,” coach Bill O'Brien said. “Being in first place is a good thing. The other teams in the division are playing pretty decent. So we've got to understand what is coming down the road here, but the first thing is San Diego, getting a good start on them on Wednesday.”
O'Brien didn't want to discuss any of the calls from Monday night on Tuesday, but he did address the laser pointer after learning more about what happened since his postgame news conference. He said that running back Lamar Miller had it pointed in his face along with Osweiler.
“It doesn't even enter your mind that someone would bring a laser into a game and point it at one of your players … I think that's terrible,” O'Brien said. “I don't know what you can do about it.”
While dealing with the laser pointer and the questionable calls by the referees certainly weren't ideal for the Texans, they can't blame the loss entirely on those things. Their defense played great for three quarters before a 75-yard touchdown reception by Jamize Olawale tied things up and Amari Cooper took a screen pass 35 yards for the winning touchdown.
Houston's pass defense entered the game ranked third in the NFL and the Texans had a rush defense that was among the worst in the league. On Monday night, the Texans allowed just 30 yards rushing, but were hurt by the receiving of the Oakland's running backs, who combined for 199 yards receiving.
“There were some missed tackles. Give them credit,” O'Brien said. “But on a positive note, we held them to 30 yards rushing. So in the last three games we've done a good job against the run, but last night their running backs did a good job about us in the passing game. No doubt about it.”
A positive to come out of Monday night's game was the continued strong play of defensive end Jadeveon Clowney , the top overall pick in the 2014 draft. Clowney, who was slowed by injuries in his first two seasons, had five tackles, including two for losses, to give him 12 tackles for losses this season.
“He was very disruptive in the game even when he didn't make a play,” O'Brien said. “He's having a good year for us and the key for him, like all of our players at this time of the year, is staying healthy. But I thought he really impacted the game last.”
Osweiler , who has been inconsistent in his first season in Houston, wasn't great on Monday, but O'Brien believes that he is making progress. He threw for 243 yards on Monday after managing just 99 yards passing last week in a win over Jacksonville.
“I think he played one of his better games and I think if he can continue to keep getting more comfortable, better and better with our offense you're going to see improvement every week,” O'Brien said.
NOTES: O'Brien was asked about a story J.J. Watt wrote published by the Players' Tribune on Tuesday where he discussed his health and disclosed that he had a staph infection last season. Watt is out for the season after back surgery. “J.J. is working very hard to be back here in 2017,” O'Brien said. “I don't think he'll be back here this year, although technically you could bring him back in January, but we're not going to do that. He'll be back in 2017. He's in the building today, in good spirits and working to be better than ever in 2017.
“As far of the list of injuries … that's probably a better question to ask him.”