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The Value of Things: The Ins and Outs of Commanders vs. Texans

What do the numbers say about the Texans 23-10 defeat?

NFL: Washington Commanders at Houston Texans Photo by John McDonnell/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Like the local deejay, I was taking dedications this week. This is the second week in the row that the Houston Texans offense was completely immobilized in the first quarter. Except this week they were rendered completely useless for the entire first half. When the halftime gun went off, the Texans were sitting with five total yards and minus one yards passing. Suffice it to say, they had not scored.

Going into the fourth quarter they had mustered just three points and less than 100 yards of total offense. Washington obviously keyed on stopping Dameon Pierce and did not have to worry whatsoever about Davis Mills burning them. Mills did score his first rushing touchdown of the season, so I guess there is that, but it was a garbage time touchdown. So, please keep that in mind as we look at the same numbers we’ve looked at all season long.

The Numbers

Total Yards: Commanders 344, Texans 148

Passing Yards: Commanders 191, Texans 127

Rushing Yards: Commanders 153, Texans 21

Total Plays: Commanders 67, Texans 54

Rushing Attempts: Commanders 40, Texans 16

Passing Attempts: Texans 31, Commanders 27

Yards Per Play: Commanders 5.1, Texans 2.7

Time of Possession: Commanders 34:56, Texans 25:04

Turnovers: Commanders 0, Texans 2

Penalties: Texans 2/15, Commanders 5/36

Three and Outs: Commanders 2, Texans 4

I always invite you to take a look at the Hair of the Dog feature every week. They showcase our thoughts of the game in real time. Yes, there is a ton of snark and darker sarcasm to work through, but it also helps demonstrate exactly what we are looking at as we watch each of these games.

Watching any team play the Texans is like watching a bigger kid just hold the head back of a smaller kid while he swings away at air. They don’t run their most potent offense at any point in the game. They run basic plays. Why showcase your best stuff on film for your next opponent when you can show them nothing and still win easily? On defense, the Commanders could play soft zones and rush only four knowing the Texans weren’t going to run the ball in the second half down 20-0 and Mills would likely make a mistake at some point anyway.

The Texans have done this in three out of the last four games. They’ve put together absolutely terrible performances in the first halves of games and scored late to make the games look closer than what they really were. Trust your eyes folks, This is an absolutely terrible football team.

The Mills Report

Like with the overall team numbers, you have to take Davis Mills stats with a grain of salt. Mind you, even the final ones weren’t good. Mills leads the NFL in interceptions, but is nearly last in total touchdowns between rushing and passing. So, an ultra conservative system is still producing more mistakes than any other single quarterback.

Davis Mills 169 yards, 57.6%, 5.1 YPA, 0 TD, 2 INT, 46.2 Rating, 11.6 QBR

Just imagine that this was not Mills worst performance statistically. He was technically worse against the Titans. We are ten games into the season now. Outside of a few Jeff Driskel gadget plays, no one else has taken a single snap at quarterback for this team. He has played roughly the same amount as he did last year. Let’s take a look at the two seasons side by side.

2021: 2,664 yards, 66.8%, 6.8 YPA, 16 TD, 10 INT, 88.9 Rating, 35,3 QBR

2022: 2,144 yards, 61,9%, 6.5 YPA, 11 TD, 11 INT, 78.1 Rating, 29.3 QBR

I really don’t know how else to say this. Davis Mills is not a good quarterback. We can certainly come up with all kinds of excuses and I’m certain the Mills Mafia will, but he is just not good enough and no amount of massaging the numbers will make it seem like he’s a candidate to by anyone’s starting quarterback.

However, there is something else at play here. The Texans have a better running game than they did a season ago. They’ve invested draft capital and free agent capital in the offensive line. They have virtually the same receivers as a season ago, but have added a couple of additional tight ends. This offense isn’t going to make anyone confuse them with the Kansas City Chiefs or Buffalo Bills, but they should be better than this.

We bring all of this up to ask one simple question: if we assume the Texans are drafting a quarterback with the top pick, do we want this coaching staff being the ones to direct and tutor the new quarterback? Can we dispense with the whole idea of the bridge coach now? Can we do what every other NFL team has done and try to find an innovative coach to run modern offenses and defenses?