Sunday’s loss in Las Vegas might have been the most lopsided game of the season, but the story behind it all was a familiar refrain. The Houston Texans were in the game going into the fourth quarter as they were ahead 20-17 in the third quarter because the Las Vegas Raiders scored 21 unanswered points to put the game on ice. The fourth quarter has become the Texans’ Achilles heal and there’s no way to dress that up.
Like with any football game, some good things happened and some of the numbers came out differently than they have in past weeks. Still, the Texans just didn’t have enough to get over the hump against another one win team. Suffice to say, when this team goes up against actual playoff contenders it could be really ugly.
Total Yards: Texans 404, Raiders 400
Passing Yards: Texans 296, Raiders 236
Rushing Yards: Raiders 164, Texans 108
Total Plays: Texans 65, Raiders 55
Totals Runs: Raiders 28, Texans 24
Total Passes: Texans 41, Raiders 27
Yards Per Play: Raiders 7.3, Texans 6.2
Penalties: Texans 3/14, Raiders 5/44
Turnovers; Raiders zero, Texans one
Time of Possession: Raiders 30:43, Texans 29:17
Three and Outs: Raiders one, Texans one
So, let’s start with the positives. Dameon Pierce is already halfway to 1,000 yards on the season and we’ve only played six games. Obviously, he has been a revelation and a probable candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Mills had some good throws, but we will get to him later. Jordan Akins had a hell of a game as well. Unfortunately, the positives probably end there.
Simply put, this team can’t defend the run consistently, so they can’t get off the field consistently. Opponents now have a clear blueprint to beat the Texans. If you run the ball and don’t turn it over you’ll have plenty of success. This doesn’t even mention the offense’s inability to score more than 20 points in a game. That’s five out six games where they haven’t gotten above 20.
Yes, the Texans had a turnover, but it was a garbage time turnover. So, they are still doing the things that Lovie Smith teams do. They take care of the ball. They don’t commit an excessive amount of penalties (although the ones they did commit came at horrible times). So, here we are on pace to get the second pick in the draft. It’s Groundhog Day and we are all Bill Murray.
The Mills Report
If we got this kind of performance every week I suspect we would be okay going with Mills. The interception really didn’t impact the game much beyond the final score. We were already down 31-20 and we weren’t going to stop their running attack. So, it looks bad, but the rest of the game was good enough for the most part. Look at most backup quarterbacks in the league and you will see games like this on their resume. Case Keenum had them. Nick Foles had them. Chad Henne had them. The question is whether you can put multiple games back to back.
Some of my colleagues feel that Mills is a waste of time at this point. I certainly can see that point of view, but I don’t feel the same way. Having a quality backup is an important thing and what exactly is the option? What would Kyle Allen do that Mills is not doing? Would winning an extra game or two really do much for you?
The difficulty is that Kyle Allen and Jeff Driscoll are guys you sign when you want to have a baseline of performance to keep you in the playoff hunt. We aren’t in the playoff hunt. One of those two guys should have subbed for an athletic guy that might have something. If you had one of those guys then benching Mills would make sense. Otherwise, what exactly is the point?