HOUSTON - The Houston Texans have never won a season finale and haven't won back-to-back games in more than two years.
So forget telling them Sunday's game against the sagging Cleveland Browns, losers of three straight, doesn't matter.
“It's real meaningful to us,” receiver Andre Johnson said. “The last game is something you could build on. We need that.”
Houston wants to guard against a letdown after last week's emotional win over the Colts.
And the few Texans (5-10) left from 2004 remember the last time they closed out the season against the Browns (4-11). Houston had won two straight and had a chance to break .500 for the first time entering the game, but allowed Cleveland to break a nine-game losing streak with a 22-14 win.
“We're pretty much in the same situation that we were then, so we're going to do everything we can not to have the same thing happen again,” Johnson said.
Leading Houston will be much-criticized quarterback David Carr, who could use a big game to help prove he should remain the Texans' starter. He rebounded from a four interception outing two weeks ago to throw for 163 yards and a touchdown against the Colts.
“The key for David is that he has to make a lot of progress and carry a little bit more of a load for this franchise as we try to make this team better,” said Texans coach Gary Kubiak. “There is still a long way to go, but there has been some progress.”
Houston will face a Cleveland team that will start third-string quarterback Ken Dorsey after losing both Charlie Frye and Derek Anderson to injury.