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Brock Osweiler, retooled Texans offense shine in win over Bears

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans spent the offseason retooling their offense, and it paid off as quarterback Brock Osweiler led the Texans to a 23-14 victory against the Chicago Bears.

Osweiler, who signed a big four-year, $72 million contract with the Texans in March, was 23-of-35 for 231 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said that although there are always things to work on, Osweiler showed good poise running the offense on Sunday.

Free-agent acquisition Lamar Miller had 28 carries for 106 yards, and first-round wide receiver Will Fuller had five receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown. All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins also had a touchdown to go with five receptions for 54 yards.

“We knew our offense would work," Hopkins said. "It’s proven to work, and having a quarterback like Brock go out there and demand the best from everybody -- the offensive line to the tight ends, even the guys on the bench. Practicing the way we practice and just trying to execute everything 100 percent, it showed today."

Although the Texans' defense had a shaky start, it settled down, shutting out the Bears in the second half. Early in the game, the Texans’ secondary had trouble containing Bears Pro Bowl receiver Alshon Jeffery and receiver Eddie Royal. Jeffery finished with four catches for 105 yards, all of which came in the first half.

The Bears' first touchdown came on Chicago’s first possession after Osweiler’s pass was intercepted by cornerback Tracy Porter. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler led Chicago down the field, and running back Jeremy Langford ran the ball in from the 1-yard line.

The Bears’ second touchdown came after a 31-second drive that ended with seven seconds left in the half. The touchdown was set up by a 54-yard pass to Jeffery, who beat Texans safety Andre Hal down the field.

O'Brien said the team has worked hard to manage the game at the end of the half, but failed against the Bears.

"At the end there, we can't do that," O'Brien said. "Those types of drives during our season here, that's not going to spell success."

Although defensive lineman J.J. Watt played the majority of the game for the Texans, he had just one tackle and three quarterback hits. Watt said his back wasn't an issue during the game.

"I knew I wouldn't have any problems with my back, and I didn't," Watt said. "Today definitely knocked some rust off. It felt good, though, to get some live balls, and to go out there and get some live shots at you and get back into the flow of things."

The Texans’ defense took a hit when inside linebacker Brian Cushing left with a knee injury early in the first quarter and did not return to the game. O'Brien said he didn't know how long Cushing will be out or the severity of his injury, but said it's hard "any time you lose the heart and soul of your team."

The Texans finished with five sacks of Cutler, two of them from outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, and allowed just 258 total yards.

The Texans took the lead for good early in the third quarter on a 18-yard touchdown pass from Osweiler to Fuller. They added a field goal, and the defense held the Bears.

Though the Texans got the win, Osweiler said he knows there are a lot of places for the team to improve, especially in the red zone.

"Bottom line, we made the plays we needed to make to win the football game, but I know we can be better," Osweiler said. "In the red area you need to score touchdowns. It's so hard to get the football down in there so when you do you really need to capitalize on your opportunity. I know red area will be a big focus on this offensive unit moving forward, but bottom line, Week 1 is never perfect.

"I couldn't be more proud of the offensive unit and the team for coming out here today, fighting for 60 minutes and getting the win."