- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

HOUSTON (AP) - The Houston Texans have already won more games than they did in last year’s dreadful 2-14 season.

While they’re happy with their 3-1 start, they’re still looking to do much more, especially with a matchup with in-state rival Dallas coming up Sunday.

“We have a lot of things that we want to make sure that we continue to improve upon,” defensive end J.J. Watt said. “We have some other things that we want to really get going. There is always things, even that you do well, that you want to make sure you continue to do better.”

Watt was chosen AFC defensive player of the week on Wednesday. Watt led the way in Houston’s 23-17 win over Buffalo on Sunday with an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown, five tackles and a career-high nine hits on quarterback E.J. Manuel. His interception return was the longest by a defensive lineman in more than 15 years.

Watt, who started his college career as a tight end before moving to defense, has two touchdowns this year after also grabbing a TD pass in Week 2.

But, as usual, the overachiever isn’t satisfied.

“Every single day is a new challenge,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun. That’s what makes it so fun. Every day you come in and you find something new to work on.”

Watt’s big game helped make up for a tough day by the offense. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two interceptions and the team managed a season-low 37 yards rushing.

“We have yet to play even close to our best football, especially as an offense,” left tackle Duane Brown said. “We feel like our defense has really played its tail off and we have to match that, and I think once we’re firing on all cylinders we’ll be a great team and we’ll be hard to stop.”

Even though the Texans are looking to up their game, they’re also encouraged they’ve been able to get out to such a good start despite struggling in several areas.

“Without a doubt, but you can’t hang your hat on that,” cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. “Because if you don’t fix those problems, somewhere down the line it will come back to haunt you and cost you a game.”

Fitzpatrick, in his first year in Houston, has struggled the past two weeks after a solid start this season. His five interceptions have all come in the last two games and are tied for most in the league. Coach Bill O’Brien has talked often about putting Fitzpatrick in better positions to be successful, but the quarterback won’t place blame for his trouble on anyone but himself.

“I’ve got to get a lot better,” he said. “Every week it’s almost like a broken record, but the consistency, it’s just got to get better … if I look at the first four games and how they’ve gone, we’re 3-1 and that’s not too bad, but my level of play has got to pick up.”

This week he’ll face a Dallas defense that is allowing more than 271 yards passing a game, seventh most in the league. But the group picked off Drew Brees once in a 38-17 win over Saints last week, and the Cowboys also recovered two fumbles in the victory.

“They’ve created a bunch of turnovers,” Fitzpatrick said. “They’ve been an opportunistic defense this year. You really see them flying around and playing fast (and) that jumps out at you when you watch the tape.”


AP NFL websites: https://www.pro32.ap.org and https://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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