DENVER -- Fall behind by 20. Mount a furious comeback. Lose by six.
The ugly interceptions didn't play into Peyton Manning's second straight defeat, but so much of the rest of it sounded like a broken record -- the likes of which the Broncos quarterback doesn't want to hear anymore.
Matt Schaub lost a small chunk of his ear after a brutal hit, but still outplayed Manning, throwing for four touchdowns against a confused Broncos defense Sunday to stake the Houston Texans to a big lead on the way to a 31-25 victory.
It is for Houston, which won its first three games for the first time in the franchise's 11-season history and beat Manning for only the third time in 19 tries -- and for the first time ever in a road game.
"It's hard to think about anything, really, besides losing two games in a row in a tough fashion," Manning said.
Schaub threw for 290 yards. He took advantage of blown coverages to connect with Andre Johnson for a 60-yard score and Kevin Walter for a 52-yard touchdown en route to a 21-5 lead in the second quarter.
After the second score, starting cornerback Tracy Porter was not seen on the field again.
"We knew that we had to try to get the ball downfield because they had a lot of people committed to the run," said Texans coach Gary Kubiak, the longtime Denver quarterback and assistant coach, who got his 50th career win. "We did what we had to do to win, convinced them that we had to make some big plays and they did."
Schaub's final touchdown was a 14-yard pass to tight end Owen Daniels, who was locked in one-on-one coverage against a slower defender, linebacker Von Miller. It gave the Texans a 31-11 lead with 1:33 left in the third quarter -- placing the Houston defense in the prevent and Manning into desperation mode.
That touchdown pass came about 10 minutes after Schaub was leveled by Joe Mays, which resulted in Denver's second consecutive roughing-the-passer penalty and, eventually, a Texans field goal for a 24-11 lead. Schaub came out for a play and had a big, bloody mark on his left ear.
"I felt fine," Schaub said. "I just lost a piece of my ear. I was bleeding and my helmet came off. So, I had to come out for a play, but I was fine."