Those poor Houston Texans.
77 seconds of Jalen Pitre in his bag pic.twitter.com/BaCXQ9y5Q9— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) December 13, 2022
Those poor, poor Texans…
Even in a game like this, where the two-headed quarterback philosophy was fully embraced, authoring a barrage of scoring, it still just wasn’t enough to stop Houston from getting in their own way.
Even two picks by returner Tremon Smith couldn’t save them…
Regardless, it was still the best Texans performance in a very long time, and their best performance as a team this year. The offensive line and Dameon Pierce were in sync for most of the game - before the latter was sidelined with a mild high ankle sprain - gaining 78 yards on the ground. Jeff Driskel, the gadget quarterback that saw plenty of snaps on Sunday, ended up being a great rushing compliment with 36 yards of his own.
And finally, FINALLY, Davis Mills had a pretty good game in 2022. 16/21 for 175 yard, averaging 8.3 per attempt, an interception, and a passer rating of 80.5 isn’t going to blow your socks off, but it’s far better than we’ve come to expect out of the third round disappointment.
Here’s my personal power rankings entering Week 15 of the NFL Season:
- Philadelphia Eagles (12-1) (Last Week: 1) - Patrick Mahomes may be the MVP favorite, but Jalen Hurts is certainly making a run for it.
- Buffalo Bills (10-3) (Last Week: 3) - Even without Von Miller, the Buffalo defensive line made plenty of noise in order to ensure revenge on the Jets.
- Dallas Cowboys (10-3) (Last Week: 2) - Even though they won, barely escaping from a horrible Texans team is more of an indictment than it is impressive.
- Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) (Last Week: 4) - For the first time ever, Joe Burrow beat the Cleveland Browns.
- Kansas City Chiefs (10-3) (Last Week: 5) - Another sweep of the Broncos, another bevy of otherworldly highlights thanks to Patrick Mahomes.
- San Francisco 49ers (9-4) (Last Week: 7) - They just keep losing star players, but it doesn’t seem to matter, yet.
- Minnesota Vikings (10-3) (Last Week: 6) - They may have 10 wins, but there certainly is plenty of ways to beat this Vikings team.
- Baltimore Ravens (9-4) (Last Week: 10) - Despite ending the game with rookie quarterback Anthony Brown, the Ravens were able to keep the Trubisky-led Pittsburgh Steelers in check for the entire game, earning their first win against the Steelers in over two years.
- Miami Dolphins (8-5) (Last Week: 8) - Maybe Tua Tagovailoa’s worst performance of the season thus far, this loss against the Los Angeles Chargers comes at the most crucial juncture of the season for the Dolphins.
- Los Angeles Chargers (7-6) (Last Week: 18) - An essential win for the Chargers trying to end the season on a hot streak, but will it carry over to next week?
- Seattle Seahawks (7-6) (Last Week: 9) - Another loss for the Seahawks, who have lost three of four and face a red hot 49ers team on Thursday night. The season is not over, but this could get ugly.
- New York Jets (7-6) (Last Week: 11) - Even though it was expected for Buffalo to even the series against the Jets, being 7-6 in a packed AFC is a dangerous position to be in with only 4 games left.
- Washington Commanders (7-5-1) - Bye week, so they get to stay put! Getting to play a spiraling Giants team right after their bye can be a great way to launch themselves ahead in the wildcard race.
- Los Angeles Chargers (7-6) (Last Week: 18) - A big, convincing win against the Dolphins is exactly what this Chargers team needed.
- New England Patriots (7-6) (Last Week: 15) - They still clearly have some issues with their offense, but have won the games they had to to be in good position entering the final slate of games. Can they exercise their divisional demons?
- Detroit Lions (6-7) (Last Week: 19) - The Lions continue to rise in the latter half of the season, and as others fall, a wildcard spot opens.
- Tennessee Titans (7-6) (Last Week: 12) - Last week, head coach Mike Vrabel that they were gonna learn a lot about their football team in the coming weeks. This probably isn’t the kind of answer he was expecting.
- New York Giants (7-5-1) (Last Week: 14) - It looks like they’re magical run is over, and as other NFC teams start to resurge, are in danger of missing the playoffs.
- Las Vegas Raiders (5-8) (Last Week: 16) - I know it’s their thing to play these extremely close games this year, but you’d think the Raiders learned their lesson by December.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (5-8) (Last Week: 26) - The Jaguars may have left a stinker in Detroit, but they redeemed themselves in Nashville.
- Green Bay Packers (5-7) (Last Week: 21) - Bye week, so they get to stay put! The Packers still aren’t out of the hunt yet, but with a great gluttony of six and seven-win teams in the NFC, they’ll practically need to win out to guarantee a playoff spot.
- Carolina Panthers (5-8) (Last Week: 29) - I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Carolina Panthers might have the best shot at winning the NFC South and going to the playoffs.
- Atlanta Falcons (5-8) (Last Week: 23) - Bye week, so they get to stay put! It could be too late, but Desmond Ridder’s exceptional play during the preseason gives me belief at a potential resurgence of the Falcons in the final games. A couple wins may be all they need to win the NFC South!
- New Orleans Saints (4-9) (Last Week: 24) - Bye week, so they get to stay put! This has been a strange season for the Saints, but it stands to get even stranger with two division games (vs. Atlanta, vs. Panthers) left on the schedule.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) (Last Week: 17) - The last time quarterback Tom Brady lost seven games during the season was 2002, when the then Super Bowl defending Patriots missed the playoffs at 9-7.
- Los Angeles Rams (4-9) (Last Week: 27) - Who had Baker Mayfield scoring a game-winning touchdown for a crappy Rams team on their 2022 NFL bingo card?
- Pittsburgh Steelers (5-8) (Last Week: 22) - Even without Kenny Pickett, there was no excuse to lose this game. Now, even miraculously running the table likely won’t be enough to sniff the playoffs.
- Cleveland Browns (5-8) (Last Week: 20) - Even though losing to a red-hot Bengals team isn’t surprising, this Browns offense is BAD.
- Arizona Cardinals (4-9) (Last Week: 25) - Now that they’ve lost Kyler Murray to a torn ACL, they get to embrace a top-five pick.
- Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1) (Last Week: 30) Bye week, so they get to stay put! With three of their four games left coming against teams above .500 (and then the finale vs. Houston…), the Colts will be hard pressed to win again before next season.
- Houston Texans (1-11-1) (Last Week: 32) - Wooo! No longer 32!!!! They’re still bad, but nearly beating the Dallas Cowboys earns them a boost up. It would’ve been nice to win, but at least we get to enjoy the all “1” record for a week.
- Denver Broncos (3-10) (Last Week: 31) - I know the Broncos looked better for a little while on Sunday, but at this point, they are undoubtedly the worst team in football.
On Sunday, the Houston Texans get to try and conquer Goliath again when the host the Kansas City Chiefs in Justin Reid’s return to NRG Stadium. Normally, I would’ve used this opportunity to state my expectations of Mahomes making the Houston safeties look terrible, but after Jalen Pitre’s play at Dallas, I can’t be so sure! Last year, Davis Mills dramatically improved in the final handful of games played by the 2021 Texans, maybe he can repeat that late-season exceptional play again.