Kubiak: 'You win or you go home'
With the Texans wildcard game against Cincinnati less than 24 hours away, Gary Kubiak knows his players are aware of what’s at stake Saturday.
“I don’t want them to worry about making mistakes,” Kubiak said. “I want them to play with a reckless abandon. I want them to cut it loose because I think that’s the most important thing. I don’t want to see any apprehension on anybody’s part.”
“I view that message as this is it,” Texans defensive end Antionio Smith said. "You can’t be out there being timid or worrying about, ‘What if,’ or worrying about doing your job to the point to where it kind of slows you down. You’ve just got to go out there and let it all go. The time for second-guessing is gone. Just go out there and have fun and let it all go.”
At first glance it might seem to be easier said than done. The Texans have struggled over the last month of the season, losing three of their last four regular season games heading into the postseason. But the experience of having been to the playoffs last year helps remind everyone what’s at stake.
“I don’t think I have to tell them a whole heck of a lot,” Kubiak said. “They understand. They were right here last year. They understand the situation. You play good, you win, or you go home. That’s the way this thing works.”
“There is nothing after this if you don’t play well,” running back Arian Foster said. “It’s more or less telling us, ‘Don’t worry about if you mess up, whatever, let’s go on.’ You have to move on because if we don’t rebound off of our mistakes, then it will be our last mistakes.”
Confidence is high in the Texans locker room, if not in the outcome then certainly the effort and energy the fans will see on the field Saturday.
“It has ramped up a little bit this week,” Foster said of the team’s focus. “It is the playoffs, and so you just start to feel that energy and feed off of it.”
“It was back to having fun, back to being confident, back to having the swagger back,” Smith said. “Everybody did their soul-searching and checking themselves, and after you did that, you’ve got to move on because it’s the playoffs. We’re in the playoffs, we’ve got a home game, so that obviously means you won your division, and we have a lot to be thankful for.”
After watching home field advantage slip through their fingers over the last two weeks of the regular season, the Texans and their fans will be thankful if there’s another game next weekend.
“We chose the road we chose by not completing some of the tasks that we had, so you just have to take it how it is,” Smith said. “If it’s going be the tough road, it’s going to be the tough road. I, frankly, have had it that way forever, so I like it that way. It makes a better story.”