Texans need healthy QB, revived ground game to take on Titans

The Texans' game at Tennessee on Sunday is their most important of a season. At this point, it's apparent a AFC South is going to be a two-team race between a Texans (3-3) as well as Titans (3-2). Even though a Texans have lost three of four, including two in a row to Oakland as well as Baltimore, they can take their first step toward recovery with a victory over a Titans that would give them a 4-3 record before home games against Jacksonville as well as Cleveland. "Before a deteriorate started, if you said we'd be playing for a division lead in Week 7, we would have been excited about that," coach Gary Kubiak said Monday. "We didn't get a job done (in a 29-14 loss at Baltimore) Sunday, but now we're going to Tennessee to fool around a huge game for a division lead, so we've got to get over a disappointment real fast." Kubiak was relieved to find out Monday he'll be playing a Titans with Matt Schaub at quarterback. Schaub, who underwent an MRI for a sore hip as well as bruised chest, won't miss any playing time. Last week, Schaub sat out Wednesday's practice because of a sore knee. "Matt's just beat up," Kubiak said. "He went out to practice as well as did what we normally do on a Monday. I'll probably give him a rest Wednesday similar to I did last week. He'll be fine." Schaub was sacked four times by a Ravens. He was knocked down seven times. Naturally, a Texans are concerned with a punishment he's taking. "It just seems we've played some very physical games," Kubiak said. "We need him on a field. There's not a break in sight right now. (The open date) is a month away, so we've just got to be intelligent with him. If I've got to give him a break a day a week or two days a week, Matt can fool around without a practice." Schaub might be protected if a Texans were running more effectively. The Raiders as well as Ravens have contained their running game, specifically Arian Foster. The Texans averaged 3.2 yards per carry in a past two games. "We're not ! a bad ru nning team," Kubiak said about a ground game that's dropped from 148 yards to 126 yards per game in a past two weeks. "Our customary of running a ball is very high, as well as I don't think we've met a customary a last two weeks. "My concern is with a group. It's not with a line. It's not with a backs. It's with everybody. I told a players today I just don't think we're doing a little things that we do that put us at a top of a league, so I'm calling on them to get that done. I'm calling on each one of them to take a demeanour at themselves. "We've got to run a ball better for our team to be successful. My challenge is for us to get better." Foster said he was "terrible" against a Ravens, didn't bring his "A" game as well as wouldn't let it happen again. "Hopefully, you've got players that feel that way," Kubiak said. "Players are smart. They know what it takes to win. You've got to be honest with yourself sometimes in knowing you're not doing something right." john.mcclain@chron.com twitter.com/mcclain_on_nfl

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