Davis Mills was the Texans’ first selection of the 2021 NFL Draft. It was expected he’d play sometime this season, once the Texans found themselves down in a hole. Instead, he was thrust into action early. Tyrod Taylor pulled his hamstring last week, so enter Davis Mills. Enter Davis Mills again for Texans-Panthers on Thursday Night Football.
In the first quarter, Tim Kelly ran the Fisher Price offense. It was screens, quick passes, and runs to nowhere. Eventually, Carolina picked it up. The Texans ran more quick passes and let Davis Mills operate from a spread set. In the end, it amounted to 19-28 for for 168 yards, averaging 6 yards attempt. This was a climb from the 3.0 he averaged to start the game. Mills also took four sacks and was hit nine times.
Carolina’s offense was how it was all year. They struggled with their outside zone game but were able to break the occasional big run. It took the Panthers a while to get sorted once Christian McCaffrey left with a hamstring injury; they lost their source of easy offense. After a bit, they found a nice equilibrium. Sam Darnold pushed it 20 yards downfield, found D.J. Moore sitting in zone coverage, and aside from some red zone and pass protection struggles, Carolina couldn’t be stopped. In the second half, they scored on each of their possessions.
Houston’s pass rush finally had some moments in the first half. Whitney Mercilus and Ross Blacklock picked up a sack. Charles Omenihu drew a holding penalty. Other than that, it was what we expected from Houston’s defense; their main saving grace was McCaffrey’s injury. Unlike the first two games of the season, the Texans forced zero turnovers tonight.
Going forward, it’s all about Mills. What do the Texans have in him? Is he a starting NFL caliber quarterback? Personally, I don’t think he is. The pocket awareness, the slow movement, the lack of accuracy, the big hits he takes, and the deep heaves without a plan are all on display. This criticism isn’t based solely on his NFL performance; it’s a continuation from what he did at Stanford. That being said, we need to see Mills in a real offense. Hopefully, Kelly is able to get confident enough to give Mills the reigns so we can get a real look at him.
The Texans play the Bills next. Not this Sunday, but next Sunday, on October 3rd at 12 p.m. CDT.