Head Coach Lovie Smith spoke to the media Monday after the disappointing tie to the Indianapolis Colts. Disappointing is retrospective; the Texans weren’t favored to win the game, but had seemingly insurmountable odds and all of the momentum mid way through the third quarter.
Smith led off the press conference evoking the listless end to the game where the team gave up 17 points in the fourth quarter.
However, he leaned on his perspective and years in the league to continually reference “the bigger picture” of the game.
Last I checked we’re still at the top of the AFC South. There’s a lot of good things we did to be able to get a lead like that. Good things have to happen, but it is about finishing an entire game.
Two of the biggest complaints after the game was rookie RB Dameon Pierce’s snap counts and the lackluster play by the defense in the fourth quarter. In addressing both of those, he said it was a “mistake” to not give Pierce more reps. Pierce was in 20 of the teams 70 snaps on Sunday and recorded 11 carries for 33 yards. More importantly, veteran RB Rex Burkhead received the majority of the snaps, 50, and carried the ball 14 times.
As for the defense, six players played 100% of the defensive snaps. That’s borderline irresponsible from a guru of defensive football. He said so himself
Defensively whenever you play that many spans, it’s hard to get the best effort throughout. Some of our guys played over 90 reps. That’s a game and a half and a lot of that we can control.
In regards to the fourth and three play in OT, Smith said he “didn't like our odds” based on how the team way playing on both sides of the ball. It was his call to punt the ball, which to the fans dismay and ultimately led to the team tying their first game.
He was equally staunch in his decision to take the five yard penalty instead of trying the long field goal with Fairbairn.
The head coach was complimentary of Jerry Hughes who had two sacks, an interception, and a tackle for loss in his first game as a Texan. When the Texans were doing well, Hughes was pressing QB Matt Ryan in the backfield.
As for the rookies, he embraced Stingley and Pitre “played more than the initial plan” and their individual ups and downs typical for a rookie’s first game. Both players were a part of the six players to get all 92 reps on defense. Five total rookies played their first NFL game on Sunday.
Derek Stingley was targeted 9 times in Sundays game against the Colts.— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) September 12, 2022
He let in 6 receptions for a total of 81 yards. pic.twitter.com/damTlVS6Ii
Finally, he was asked about the inadequacies on defense late in the game.
We didn't do our best job late. We had a lead and the opponent is passing the football, that’s when you need to apply the pressure.
The defense fell a part at the end and the offense subsequently couldn’t keep them off the field. Combine that with the lack of rotation, and it’s clear how the Texans gave away a 17-point lead.