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David J. Phillip, File, Associated Press
FILE - In this Dec. 14, 2011, file photo, Houston Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips makes his way across the field to talk with the media after NFL football practice in Houston. The addition of Phillips and cornerback Johnathan Joseph have led a turnaround that has made Houston's defense one of the best in the NFL as the Texans prepare to play the Cincinnati Bengals in a wild-card playoff game on Saturday.

HOUSTON — A year ago, the Houston Texans had the NFL's worst pass defense and were near the bottom of the league in total defense.

They remodeled by bringing in defensive whiz Wade Phillips and signing cornerback Johnathan Joseph.

Now in the playoffs for the first time, Houston hopes its highly-rated D can lead the team to a win on Saturday against the Bengals, the team Joseph played for before joining the Texans.

Linebacker Brian Cushing, who leads the team 114 tackles, says the turnaround Phillips orchestrated has been "unbelievable."

Joseph says "it doesn't get any better" than having helped the Texans to the postseason against his former team.

Phillips is still recovering after kidney and gall bladder surgery Dec. 15. But he's back with the team and improving every day.