In every game there are always competing narratives. That is obviously true of the Houston Texans this season. All but one of their games have been one score games and all of them have been one score games in the fourth quarter. While that is technically true there is another narrative that came to the forefront on Sunday. The Texans were nowhere close to winning a 17-10 game and their only touchdown came in garbage time. Their only field goal came following an interception deep in Titans’ territory.
Additionally, even an average quarterback would have led the Tennessee Titans to at least 30 points in this one. The numbers will demonstrate how much the Titans physically dominated the game. I’ll offer more numbers on that later, but this might be the only game where both quarterbacks had ESPN QBRs less than ten. I can’t ever remember such a game I’ve ever seen, but I’m sure the stat geeks somewhere will come up with an answer.
Total Yards: Titans 354, Texans 161
Rushing Yards: Titans 314, Texans 43
Passing Yards: Texans 118, Titans 40
Total Plays: Titans 58, Texans 51
Rushes: Titans 48, Texans 21
Passes: Texans 30, Titans 10
Yards Per Play: Titans 6.1, Texans 3.2
Turnovers; Texans 1, Titans 2
Penalties: Titans 6/35. Texans 6/45
Three and Out: Titans 3, Texans 5
Let’s remember a couple of key things. The Titans essentially stopped trying in the fourth quarter. They had nearly all of these rushing yards in the first three quarters. Henry had more than 200 yards rushing coming into the fourth quarter. He could have had almost 300 yards alone if they had let him. That makes the fourth consecutive game he has gained more than 200 yards against the Texans.
This is where you can’t help but be demoralized. Everyone in the building knew who was getting the ball. They knew Willis wasn’t a threat to pass. The Texans put eight in the box. Jalen Pitre was virtually a linebacker the whole game. It didn’t matter. We’ve been the worst team in the NFL in rushing defense three years in a row and are on pace to give up more rushing yards than any Texans team in history. They have given up more yards (1,302) than any team in the league and have played one fewer games than most of the teams in the league.
They have only rushed for 647 yards, so that is a negative differential of 655 yards in seven games. That puts them on pace for negative 1,591 yards which would also be a franchise record. I can’t imagine things will get better against the Eagles on Thursday night. Of course, I could go on, but you already know the story.
The Mills Report
This is going to be one of those games where the numbers don’t really tell the whole story. Maybe if we take away the last drive in garbage time then we can get a handle on how bad this one was for the Texans. He was missing Nico Collins, but most starting quarterbacks have someone on their offense that’s missing every week.
ESPN QBR: 7.1
That last number isn’t a typo. If you combined Malik Willis and Mills’ ESPN QBRs you still wouldn’t have any other quarterback in the neighborhood. Let that one sink in for a moment. Willis was making his first start and he was simply replacing an injured Ryan Tannehill. Mills was just bad and there really is no way to sugarcoat it.
I’ll have more numbers on Thursday to back up this story because somehow PFF has Mills as an average quarterback. I’m not sure what voodoo witchcraft they have going to explain that. So, we will bust out some other numbers to prove that what we are watching is actually happening. Thankfully, the Texans are playing Thursday so they don’t have to spend too much time dwelling on that performance on Sunday.