HOUSTON -- Tyrann Mathieu remembers standing by his locker after the Houston Texans' loss that dropped them to 0-3 on the season, insisting that his team was oh-so-close to having a totally different record in 2018.
"We've lost three games by 15 points," he said at the time. "We're not that far off."
The Texans showed just that in Sunday's 20-13 victory against the Bills, winning their third consecutive game and getting back to .500. With a smile on Sunday, Mathieu said it feels like a sigh of relief that Houston has dug itself out of the early hole.
"I think that just goes to show how close we were in those first three games," he said. "The last three games are pretty much the same as far as point differential."
After the Texans' victory against the Bills and Week 6 losses by Jacksonville and Tennessee, all three teams are tied atop the AFC South at 3-3. Only the Titans are unbeaten in the division.
The Texans head to Jacksonville on Sunday with a chance to take an outright lead or, at the very least, be tied with Tennessee for first place in the division.
"We're back to where we want to be," quarterback Deshaun Watson said. "We've got a great opportunity next week in Jacksonville. The season is still in front of us. We just kept believing, we're going to keep believing, keeping pushing forward and keep fighting.
"This is a special team for what we've been through these past six weeks. I love all of the guys in the locker room. The locker room is very special. No one flinches, and everyone just keeps fighting and trying to finish the game out. And that's what we've been doing. We're just going to keep building on this win and keep trying to improve."
Although players in the locker room were giddy, celebrating not only a victory but also a jump in the standings, coach Bill O'Brien was quick to caution that the Texans will not continue on this track unless they can fix their struggling offense.
"I think that was a really important win," O'Brien said. "But I also know that we're not going to be able to be where we want to be unless we figure this thing out on offense. And figure out what we have to do to be able to run the ball [and] throw the ball consistently.
"At times, we look like a good offense. Not really today, but at times we have this season. We have to figure that out."