The Houston Texans had a winning streak going. Davis Mills played fine against the malodorous Jacksonville Jaguars, and had a great game against the Los Angeles Chargers who were without their two best defensive players. For a half, they were looking to make it three in a row, until it all fell apart in the second half.
The Texans strung together two good offensive drives this game. Davis Mills converted three third and longs and hit Brandin Cooks up the seam against Fred Warner to cap it off. The other was created by defensive pass interference penalties drawn by Brandin Cooks. That drive ended when the right side of Houston’s offensive line was liquefied, forcing the field goal that was missed by Ka’imi Fairbairn.
Fairbairn’s missed field goal effectively ended this game for Houston. The following drive Trey Lance hit a deep in that Houston failed to pass off in cover three. Eric Murray was the single high safety. He missed Deebo Samuel to prevent the touchdown. Down by two scores that was the end of it.
Before that point Houston’s defense did a better job defending the horizontal runs that gave them trouble against the New York Jets and other opponents. Lance was miserable as a quick passer. The outside zone and boot game was there for the 49ers the entire time though. Whenever they needed yards these avenues were always open.
Houston’s offensive problems were spurned by their pass protection. Demeco Ryans mixed in the occasional blitz, but the front four rush was able to get Mills off his spot often enough. Incompletions and second and long runs created longer third down conversion attempts. Houston’s offense moved better the last two weeks because they created third and short. This week was different, and Houston was 5 for 15 on third down before garbage time.
Texans fans needed something to feel good about. They found that in Davis Mills. After two acceptable games in back to back weeks he was some solace in a lost season. Could Houston build their team around him? Is he a starting quarterback in the rough? Can the Texans ignore the quarterback position in 2022. This week was deflating. Before an empty final drive Mills was 15/26 for 106 yards, 4.1 yards an attempt, took 3 sacks, and threw 1 touchdown to 1 interception. I’m sure there’s a syringe of something else you can fill up and inject yourself with.
Next week it all comes to an end. The Houston Texans play the Tennessee Titans in week 18 in Houston at 12 p.m. The Texans are still set to select third overall, and the Titans are playing for a first round bye, giving Derrick Henry an extra week to recover for the postseason.