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INDIANAPOLIS — So how are we supposed to feel about these Texans? Is it OK to be optimistic?

Yes, yes, yes, they’re so close to being very, very good. They’re an inch away here, an inch away there.

Few teams could self-destruct the way the Texans did Sunday afternoon and still have a chance to defeat one of the NFL’s two unbeaten teams.

There’s your optimism on a platter. The Texans pushed the Indianapolis Colts around for long stretches, and did you think you’d live long enough to read this sentence?

They got a herculean defensive effort against maybe the best quarterback who ever played the game. Peyton Manning got the Indianapolis Colts in the end zone just twice, and that’s amazing when you consider the Texans tried to give away the game in the first quarter.

They trailed 13-0 early in the second quarter and were on the verge of being blown off the field. Somehow, they ended up leading 17-13 in the fourth quarter because they played with a toughness and resolve they simply haven’t had very often.

In the end, though, the Colts won 20-17 because they’re a little better, a little smarter and a little tougher.

“We had ’em,” Texans defensive end Mario Williams said. “It’s very painful. But is it going to discourage us from doing what we need to do? No, it’s not.”