Another week, another bad game from the Houston Texans. This one was special, though, since it held the return of former Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson in its wake.
Was this to be a public reckoning against Watson, a revenge game with real-world infamy, or a spectacle of high emotions of any sort? While Houston did it’s job to keep it mildly interesting for almost three quarters of a football game, any kind of high emotions or “vengeance”, whether on the football field directed at Watson or off the field, was quickly snuffed out by horrible play.
Kyle Allen had a QBR of 3 and a -.41 EPA/dropback today against the Browns— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) December 5, 2022
Kyle Allen fumbles at his own goal line and Denzel Ward picks it up and scores a TD pic.twitter.com/3SghYvxOZK— Main Team (@MainTeamSports) December 4, 2022
Despite an admirable performance from Houston to keep a rusty Deshaun Watson…rusty…and keep a cap on Nick Chubb for awhile, Kyle Allen and the new and improved Houston offense couldn’t muster a single touchdown until garbage time in the final minutes. In fact, before the Houston offense could muster more than a couple field goals - one significantly aided by a Cleveland turnover - they were responsible for two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), a fumble returned for a touchdown, sports punts (one returned for a touchdown), and a turnover on downs at the Cleveland Browns one-yard line.
After all of this and the disgusting loss to Miami the week before, I guess Houston has already seen enough of the Kyle Allen since they just announced the return of Davis Mills to the starting lineup:
Just like that, in the middle of writing this article, the Kyle Allen experiment is over in Houston. In two games, Kyle Allen amassed 416 yards at a 59% completion percentage, two touchdowns, four interceptions, 5.3 yards per attempt, and a passer rating of 60.6. This offense has no effective passer to turn to in order to get anything going through the air, and the quick turnaround from benching to starting Davis Mills is evidence of that.
Maybe, by some miracle, Houston can recapture the late-season Davis Mills magic that he grasped after recapturing the starting job in his rookie season. But, against a defense as dangerous as the Cowboys, you almost fear what an offense flip-flopping between mediocre quarterbacks will end up being responsible for come Sunday.
Here’s my personal power rankings entering week 14 of the 2022 NFL season:
- Philadelphia Eagles (11-1) (Last Week: 1) - A.J. Brown got more than just revenge against his former team. He got experience a complete beat down of what many suspected a worthy opponent for the Eagles.
- Dallas Cowboys (9-3) (Last Week: 3) - Even though it was against the Colts, scoring 50+ against any team is worthy of a boost up the rankings.
- Buffalo Bills (9-3) (Last Week: 4) - Before their Thursday night matchup against the Patriots, debate surrounded Buffalo and the potential for them to stumble against a great Patriots defense. After Thursday night, that debate was over.
- Cincinnati Bengals (8-4) (Last Week: 7) - Now 3-0 against the Chiefs, Joe Burrow is showing why the Cincinnati Bengals can be an AFC juggernaut for years to come. When the passing-game is this effective, it’s so much easier to win.
- Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) (Last Week: 2) - A big drop for the team that is still my favorite to win the Super Bowl, Kansas City has a clear weak spot in Ohio.
- Minnesota Vikings (10-2) (Last Week: 6) - Another huge stop in the red zone saves the Vikings’ hide against a dangerous Jets team. At some point, it will be on Kirk Cousins’ shoulders to bail his team out, not the other way around.
- San Francisco 49ers (8-4) (Last Week: 8) - Despite the loss of Jimmy Garoppolo to a potentially season ending foot injury, the 49ers still handled the Miami Dolphins and scored over 30 points in the process. Does this mean Brock Purdy is better than Davis Mills?
- Miami Dolphins (8-4) (Last Week: 5) - Besides two quick strikes into the end zone, Miami’s offense was helpless against the 49ers.
- Seattle Seahawks (7-5) (Last Week: 11) - Although the Rams nearly stole this one away, the Seahawks rely on Geno Smith to get another win in their quest for most unlikely playoff team of 2022.
- Baltimore Ravens (8-4) (Last Week: 10) - What a nasty game. Regardless of whether Lamar Jackson is out there or Tyler Huntley, it should not require a touchdown drive in the final seconds to beat the Denver Broncos.
- New York Jets (7-5) (Last Week: 15) - Even though they lost, the Jets severely outperformed all other teams below them in this week’s rankings, so they get to jump up.
- Tennessee Titans (7-5) (Last Week: 9) - After that ugly loss, the scrappy Titans created more questions than answers entering the most important stretch of the season.
- Washington Commanders (7-5-1) - A tie doesn’t help complete their comeback, but it certainly hurts less than a loss.
- New York Giants (7-4-1) - The Giants have been going through a funk for the past several weeks, but, like the Commanders, a tie hurts a whole lot less than another loss.
- New England Patriots (6-6) (Last Week: 12) - While they can be excuse for having a bad game against Josh Allen, the offense has to be a little more potent than this if they have any plans on making a run in January.
- Las Vegas Raiders (5-7) (Last Week: 20) - Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs might be all the Raiders need to get back to .500.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6) (Last Weeks: 17) - Wins aren’t coming easy for Tom Brady this year, but on Monday he proved that dramatic comebacks are still his specialty.
- Los Angeles Chargers (6-6) (Last Week: 16) - Everything about the makeup of this team screams that they should be better than their record. After this loss, it feels like the Chargers are doomed to repeat what happened last season.
- Detroit Lions (5-7) (Last Week: 21) - The Lions redeem themselves after their heartbreaking loss the Bills on Thanksgiving with an absolute thrashing of the Jaguars on Sunday. This offense can really score, but they’ll need to keep it up if they have any hopes of nabbing a wildcard spot.
- Cleveland Browns (5-7) (Last Week: 19) - The offense looked pretty ugly in Deshaun Watson’s return, but it doesn’t take much to beat the Texans.
- Green Bay Packers (5-8) (Last Week: 23) - While saving the season is likely out of reach, the revelation of Christian Watson gives Packers fans a lot to look forward to in the future.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7) (Last Week: 26) - In order to avoid Mike Tomlin’s first losing season, the Steelers nearly have to win out. After their victory against the Falcons, this seems like a legitimate possibility.
- Atlanta Falcons (5-8) (Last Week: 18) - After a game like this, I think it’s time to see Desmond Ridder.
- New Orleans Saints (4-9) (Last Week: 24) - The Saints have been having their way with Tom Brady for a few years, now. Monday night almost looked like another chance for history to repeat itself. Almost.
- Arizona Cardinals (4-8) (Last Week: 25) - Bye week, so they get to stay put! Since drafting Kyler Murray in 2019, the Cardinals have relied heavily on veteran starters and free agent signings to give him enough firepower to win games. At some point, however, Arizona will have to start building a good lineup on offense through the draft in order to ensure more than 2 seasons of contention.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8) (Last Week: 22) - As soon as Trevor Lawrence giveth, as soon as he taketh away.
- Los Angeles Rams (3-9) (Last Week: 27) - At least they didn’t look as dead as they did last week. Maybe Baker Mayfield will give them…something?
- Chicago Bears (3-10) (Last Week: 30) - They may be one of the worst teams in the NFL, but Justin Fields alone makes them competitive every single week. They’re one good offseason away from being a playoff contender.
- Carolina Panthers (4-8) (Last Week: 29) - Bye week, so they get to stay put! Now rallied under the flag of Sam Darnold again, Carolina seeks to somehow stay in the playoff race in December. There’s still life to this team, but would they be better off starting Matt Corral?
- Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1) (Last Week: 28) - Just like the Texans, the Colts have kept it interesting in the majority of their games until the 4th quarter. Just like the Texans, they’ll be looking for a quarterback with their top 5 pick come April.
- Denver Broncos (3-9) (Last Week: 31) - The Broncos are on pace to have the worst NFL offense since the 2000 Cleveland Browns. This is not what they signed up for when they signed Russell Wilson.
- Houston Texans (1-10-1) (Last Week: 32) - It’s always possible for things to get worse for the Houston Texans. Coaching so bad there’s debate about a second one-and-done season in a row? Check. Close games that get your hopes up which are always crushed in the end? Check. Atrocious quarterback play that cannot be escaped? Check. The first overall pick is our destiny, but Dallas will be another reminder that just one good pick won’t be able to change much.
On Sunday, the Texans travel to Dallas to become the second AFC South team to get an ugly beating from the Cowboys. Davis Mills has been excessively poor at throwing the ball downfield, but with how quickly this Dallas offense will score, he’ll have to go bombs away from the onset in order to give his team any chance. There’s been moments where Mills has been able to succeed in downfield passing, maybe after a couple weeks on the bench, he’ll be more willing to take chances. See you then!