ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Moments after the Broncos' 27-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Head Coach John Fox stepped to the podium to address the media.
Asked about quarterback Peyton Manning's three first-quarter interceptions, Fox pointed to a fact sometimes forgotten with the season underway -- Manning and the Broncos are still getting to know one another.
"I don't think we're a finished product yet, by any stretch, when you consider this is the first year that he's played in this offense and with these teammates," Fox reiterated Wednesday in a conference call with Houston media. "There are going to be some growing pains and it doesn't happen overnight. We looked at the tape, we learned, and now we try to eliminate the same mistakes. I don't have any doubt that he's going to come back pretty good after last week."
Manning echoed Fox's sentiment in his press session Wednesday, adding that he and his receivers -- who are "serious about their business and their craft" -- continue to work on their chemistry every day.
He said that Monday night's performance, which included a two-touchdown fourth quarter that put the Broncos right back in the game, hasn't dampened his confidence level at all.
"We're still learning about each other," Manning said. "The key is you want to win the games while you're continuing to learn."
At this point, Manning said, the team has moved on from its Week 2 loss and is looking forward to this Sunday's test, a home game against the Houston Texans.
After two weeks of football, Houston is one of just two remaining undefeated teams in the AFC. The Texans lead the NFL in total defense, and on the other side of the ball are averaging nearly 150 rushing yards per game.
Along with a passing game featuring Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson, that sort of balanced attack on both sides of the ball led safety Mike Adams to call Houston the biggest challenge of the season "thus far."
Manning pointed to the coaching of Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips as one reason the Texans defense has been so successful.
"They have some players that are playing really well, that are flying around," he said. "They play with a lot of energy and then Coach Phillips, throughout his history, always has his teams and defenses really well-coached. When you take a disciplined scheme of defense and you combine it with really active players that they have, it's no surprise they have a good defense."
Manning is plenty familiar with the Texans from his days with the division-rival Indianapolis Colts, but the quarterback said there isn't a whole lot he can draw from 2010 -- the last time he faced Houston -- to help prepare for Week 3 of the 2012 season.
Regardless, he knows he wants to get the offense off to a better start this week than Week 2's four-turnover first quarter.
"I hope we can build off the way we finished the game (at Atlanta) -- we got a little rhythm," Manning said. "You've got to get off to a better start. It doesn't have to be a great start. You don't have to get out and go touchdown, touchdown, touchdown. Against a team like Houston, you want to get off to a better start on both sides of the ball and kind of feed off of one another."
As for moving on after the tough loss, Manning said it wasn't hard with the 2-0 Texans up next.
"They're easy to grab your attention because of the way they play on both sides of the ball," Manning said. "Plenty of film to study and plenty of preparing to do."
"It'll be important for our team to bounce back against a quality opponent."