Phillips attacks penalty issue in practice

HOUSTON -- Responding to a game in which the Houston Texans set a franchise record by committing 14 penalties for 177 yards, interim head coach Wade Phillips brought in Big 12 officials to oversee practice Wednesday.

"We had a whole group of officials that were calling penalties, throwing flags," Phillips said. "We want to overemphasize certainly that area so that we can cut down on the number of penalties we have. The only way I know how to do it is attack the problem, so that's what we did there."

The Texans rank ninth in the NFL this season having committed 89 penalties. Their yardage lost, however, is the third-highest in the league: 912 yards, ranking below only the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"Penalties, I think, all year have been a bit of an issue. So obviously want to get those corrected," defensive end J.J. Watt said. "Penalties in big situations, especially. Obviously we want to eliminate those. That's one of the keys to victory."

Interestingly, Seattle and Tampa Bay have committed most of their penalties on offense, while more of Houston's penalties have come on defense. The Texans' offense has committed 34 this season, the defense 41 and special teams 14.

"I think that's a good idea," running back Ben Tate said. "Because if we don't work on it all the time, then how can you do it when it comes to a game?"