I’ve watched the Texans play football since the Texans erupted from Bob McNair’s womb. I was a fat kind who spiked my hair in the front like David Carr. I loved drinking beers and arguing why Matt Schaub is better than Tony Romo or quarterback X circa 2011, and why he’s a top five quarterback. I lost it when Case KEEEENUUUUM made 2013 fun for even a little while. I listened to the clicking of the ceiling on all those Sundays we wasted through Ryan Fitzpatrick dumpster diving, Ryan Mallett THROW HARD, Brian Hoyer game managing, [NAME REDACTED] flat passes, and Tom Savage convulsing. A West Texas drive turned into bedlam when Houston traded up for Deshaun Watson, and since then, Houston has had a top five franchise caliber quarterback.
The thing we always wanted, that thing we suffered for, that thing we finally had, has disappeared. The Texans are living in purgatory since Deshaun Watson effectively left this franchise. This season is all haze and rubble. The wins and losses really don’t matter. What they get for Watson is the actual only thing that does.
Sure, there are cute little things to watch for in the meantime. How will Tytus Howard look at left guard, will Charles Omenihu figure out the run game, can Jacob Martin play all three downs and provide consistent pressure, is Ross Blacklock an impact interior rusher, which veterans could be scrapped for picks or will add to the compensatory formula, is Justin Reid part of long term plans, can Lonnie Johnson Jr. play safety, and if the Texans have anything in Davis Mills.
Most of these questions have been let downs. The only plus has been the little bit of funk Blacklock has been provided, since it seems like Reid will probably move onward to a team with a different competitive cycle. The most resounding one, and the one with the greatest point of contention, is Mills himself.
Yesterday, Mills put together the worst quarterback performance I’ve ever seen from a Texans quarterback. It was worse than the turds Savage, or Hoyer, or [NAME REDACTED] smeared across the walls. By quarterback rating, it was the third worst start in franchise history, failing to meet marks that only David Carr put up in 2005 and 2002.
Mills can only throw screen passes, but the Texans can’t block them, and curls/comebacks and quick outs to Brandin Cooks. That’s it. There isn’t another throw he can make consistently. The ball isn’t put in the right spot in the short game, leading to tipped passes that get intercepted. There’s only heaves, and no plan, when the ball is launched deep. Mills doesn’t have the athleticism to make up for it either. His arm strength is fuzzy and floppy. He’s a pocket sloth who needs a seeing eye dog. Maybe TexansPup can finally earn his rent, and make himself useful by guiding him through the pocket.
There’s some sentiment, that Mills is still only a rookie, and there’s plenty of time needed for his development, and blah, blah, blah. The truth is that Mills was bad at Stanford, and the same issues he had in college are only exacerbated in the pros. Maybe, with enough time in the pot, he could become a clipboard holder, but that’s about it. There isn’t a franchise quarterback here in the future. There isn’t some secret hidden potential. He’s just a bad quarterback put into a terrible situation.
The Texans actively crushed him this year. He didn’t look NFL ready in college, and was a wreck this preseason. Rather than sign a backup quarterback, who could backup the injury prone Tyrod Taylor, they gave Mills this role, to showcase that they believe in him or something. The funny thing about depth is that sometimes it’s called upon. So now Mills has been thrown to the wolves in Carolina, and Buffalo, and it’s not going to get any better with games against New England, Indianapolis, Arizona, Los Angeles (R), and Miami. Each defense is confounding in its own right, whether its their coverage schemes, or their pass rush, or their propensity to blitz, each one is diabolical is some way. With only Brandin Cooks to throw to, without any sort of run game, Mills will continue to be dragged through hell.
Aside from Tyrod Taylor’s six hot quarters, the Texans have been horrendous. The process has been bad, the results have been worse, and the things we thought entering this season are full frontal. With the upcoming slate of games, and Mills’s current state, Houston will probably be 1-7 by the time Taylor gets back. From there, it’s a juggling of winning games for respectability while risking hurting their draft position, or continuing to see if Mills can do anything at all.
You would think that after losing by 40, things can’t, or won’t get any worse. But if there’s one thing we know about the Houston Texans, is that there is no bottom. Things can get better, and they usually do.
TURN OFF THAT LUKE WARM WATER:
From the people who told you Tom Savage could develop into a starting caliber quarterback if you give him enough time:— Matt (Double__Underscore) Weston (@Matt__Weston) October 3, 2021
This was the type of game that gave credence to the “Texans would have the worst record in the league” predictions. At first glance, 40-0 is as bad as you can get in the NFL. This is the worst-ever loss in team history by margin of defeat, even worst than any of the expansion teams or some of the worst of the Bill O’Brien regime. Digging into the numbers, it looks even worse. The offense did not break 100 total yards until deep into garbage time. Throw in 5 turnovers and 100 yards in penalties, and that is a formula for disaster, poor weather or not.
Admittedly, there were small positive signs. The defense will be tagged with surrendering 40 points and 450 total yards. Yet the game was only 19-0 going into the 4th. The defense was bending, but was holding the Bills to field goals in the red zone. A team with a somewhat competent offense would at least make it a real game . If Taylor was healthy, maybe. Alas, by the 4th quarter, the D could not hold back the Bills’ attack and they subsequently broke. Also, the punter Johnson was blasting a 50+ yards per punt average.
However, that offense with Mills…Yikes!!! Yes, Buffalo may have a better front than Carolina, but the offense, and Mills in particular, showed zero signs of improvement. If Ingram can’t blast forward for three to four yards a pop, the running game is non-existent. Lindsay’s runs are wasted carries and the Oline can’t generate any effective push to get a running game going. This sets up the team for offensive failure as Mills can’t carry the offense with his arm (certainly not now).
Strangely enough, the Texans are STILL second in the AFC South and only a game back of the Titans. Tells you just how bad this division is right now. However, if Taylor cannot return to play at the level he did to start the season, or Mills shows no signs of improvement, or the team can’t find someone else competent to take the QB snaps, this team will not only have a poor record, but they will be all but unwatchable. The next off-season cannot come soon enough.
WE GOT PLENTY OF EXCITING MOVES DOWN THE PIPE:
I know things look bleak right now, but remember: Cal McNair needs you to trust the #Texans know what they’re doing.— battleredblog (@battleredblog) October 3, 2021
In a shocking upset, YOUR Houston Texans bested the heavily favored Buffalo Bills today Culture-40. Only the real Texans fans believed enough that this was possible, and the team came through for us, the most hardcore of fans. WHOO!
Though I am, of course, crediting the culture, you can’t help but wonder in awe about the process. Nick Caserio and Cal McNair have been promising us that process would make this team better, and, boy howdy, were they ever right!
All the credit simply has to go to Jack Easterby. This is his process, and it’s his culture. Sources tell me that his motivational speech before the game, which was his basic comedic stand-up routine, is what got the team loose. He reportedly ended with his “White Guys Drive Like This/Black Guys Drive Like This” skit, which had the team rolling in the proverbial aisles.
I was wrong before the season: culture DOES win games. The Texans, now 4-0 on the season, appear to be completely unstoppable. There’s not a team in the NFL that can compete with the Texans’ culture and process. And no other team in the NFL has Jack Easterby.
Mills moving in the pocket and speed of releasing the ball pic.twitter.com/1zui3Ccfqx— Greg Richmond (@richmondgp) October 3, 2021
Welp, that happened. Somehow it was even worse than I imagined, but since I’m an optimistic person, I guess you could say that game brought me back down to earth. All of the talk about Mills being decent pretty much went out the window with this one. Sure, the weather wasn’t ideal and the opposing defense was one of the best around, but <100 passing yards and 4 interceptions is just abysmal.
This is one of those games that seemed over from the beginning. There might have been a glimmer of hope in the first quarter when Josh Allen threw an early pick, but the Texans started to beat themselves and simply let it all go. Buffalo was IMG Academy and Houston was Bishop Sycamore (I hope that you all understand this reference).
I want to say that the only way from here is up, but even that statement is a stretch. The Texans play the Patriots next week, a team that was a field goal away from beating the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers in primetime. At this point, fans are counting down the days until Tyrod Taylor returns. That doesn’t guarantee much, though, as certain flaws are becoming more and more clear as time goes on.
IT’S A LONG ROAD THROUGH HELL:
Davis Mills on his performance: "Obviously, not the outcome we wanted. I don't think I played my best football today ... We have a long season ahead of us and I'm ready to put my head down and get to work and do whatever I need to do to get this team wins." pic.twitter.com/mAfZznXLpy— Rivers McCown (@riversmccown) October 3, 2021
40-0 isn’t a blowout loss. It’s an indictment that the Jack Easterby experiment is a complete and utter failure.
We all knew the team wasn’t going to win much, and it’s good to lose in terms of upcoming potential draft capital, but the organization that put this disaster on the field is also likely to screw the pooch in the 2022 draft as well.
This wasn’t just a defeat to a better team, it was a statement that Easterby and pals can’t assemble an NFL caliber product.
Which takes us back to the plea that started 2021: #FireEasterby
Clean house from Cal McNair on down, wipe the slate clean and hope that Momma McNair can bring in someone who understands how to run an NFL franchise.
GIVE THEM BENARDRICK MCKINNEY’S EYEBLACK:
The #Texans position group that truly has zero excuses is the offensive line. 1st and 2nd rounders, experienced veterans. But they play like a private school safety patrol. They gotta get in touch with their psychopathic side. Do these guys even own a Pantera cassette?— Seth C. Payne (@SethCPayne) October 4, 2021
What I saw on Sunday was one of the most pitiful displays of football I’ve ever seen, and it could have been worse. The Bills offense was misfiring early and the defense did an admirable job keeping the game in hand.
The offense just had absolutely nothing going for it. Nothing at all. The running back room should be launched into the sun. The O-line looked disjointed and panicked. So many penalties. I can’t remember seeing that many first and greater than tens in my life.
Of course, the defense finally broke and Josh Allen did Josh Allen things. This could have been a fiftyburger at NRG.
Davis Mills is not, and will never be, a suitable starting quarterback in the NFL. The only positive side to him is that he can keep us on track for a high draft pick. I don’t care how good his grip in the rain was at his pro day, or how much his pops believes in him. It’s just not there.
We finally ran into the wood chipper and it’s on brand with this team considering the trajectory they’ve been on. It didn’t make this loss sting any less.
Facing the Patriots next week brings a tough defense that will harass and confuse Mills if he’s under center. I’m not believing in a guy named McCorkle so I think the defense can keep it right. We can only hope that Tyrod comes back soon and makes this football team watchable again.
DREW LOCK IS STAYING IN DENVER:
David Culley was asked if the Texans are looking to bring in another quarterback. His reply: 'Not at this time.'— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 4, 2021