It was the best of times and it was the worst times. Halfway across the country, the hometown Houston Astros were squeezing out a key victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in game five of the World Series. In Houston, the hometown football team was losing another predictable game to the Philadelphia Eagles 29-17. You couldn’t get a much starker contrast between the two teams from Houston.
Even though the Houston Texans lost by double digits, they ended up playing better than they had the previous week against the Tennessee Titans. As was the usual pattern, they were in the game going into the fourth quarter before the Eagles pulled away. In retrospect, the game was about much as we expected and could have hoped for. Despite being completely outgunned, the Texans stayed in the game as long as they could. The Eagles seemed to toy with them before simply putting them away.
By the Numbers
Total Yards: Eagles 360, Texans 303
Rushing Yards: Texans 168, Eagles 143
Passing Yards: Eagles 217, Texans 135
Yards Per Play: Eagles 5.8, Texans 5.3
Total Plays: Eagles 62, Texans 57
Rushes: Texans 35, Eagles 35
Passes: Eagles 27, Texans 22
Time of Possession: Texans 31:47, Eagles 28:13
Turnovers: Eagles 1, Texans 2
Penalties: Texans 4/28, Eagles 4/31
Three and Outs: Texans 2, Eagles 3
Let’s start with the positives. The Texans running game is beginning to become a consistent threat. This marks one of the few times where they have outgained their opponent on the ground. The Eagles probably could have gained more and arguably should have run the ball more often, but they were in no real danger of losing the game.
All that being said, the Texans lived up to their billing as a running team. It was one of the few games this year where the ratio of runs to passes matched that of a smash mouth football team. Two key turnovers in the second half didn’t help, but they likely didn’t impact the outcome either. The Eagles could have scored ten more points comfortably if they weren’t coasting to victory.
The Mills Report
The good news is that Davis Mills probably played the best half of football he has played this season in the first half. He completed all but one of his passes and threw two impressive touchdown passes to keep the Texans tied 14-14 at the half. The bad news is that he had to play the rest of the game.
Passing Yards: 154
ESPN QBR: 47.4
Mills reminds me a lot of my golf game. If given time to prepare and practice, there are several holes where I will look like a scratch golfer. I’ll hit beautiful drives and approach shots. I might roll in a putt or two or hit a really good chip close to the hole. If you pay attention to only those holes you’ll think I can compete for the club championship. Then, there are the other holes where I don’t look nearly as good and the scores reflect that.
The question for Mills is whether you consider the whole picture or just those halves or quarters where things look really good. You have to ask yourself whether he is really any different than any other backup quarterback that is capable of looking good for stretches at a time. The total numbers put him as a bottom tier starting quarterback. Those few really good throws in the first half make you think he could possibly be more. In golf parlance, do you pay attention to the birdie or two that I have or pay attention to the 91 on the scorecard?