“To be is to do.” — Socrates
A lifetime of study in political philosophy and a liberal arts education has taught me a few things. Whether you use this quote from Socrates or the flipped version from Sartre, the implication is the same. We ultimately are what we do. That is often in spite of all of the posturing and protestations to the contrary. Football coaches often say the same things when we boil it down to brass tacks. There are multiple ways to win football games, but when you break down all of the minutia it usually comes down to the same things.
Lovie Smith says the same things every week about what this team is. He says we are a running football team with an opportunistic defense. He said, “in order for us to win games we have to stop losing games.” No matter how many different ways you say it, he clearly wants this team to be conservative and make fewer mistakes than the other team.
When you boil down statistics to their core they are evidence. They measure whether you are what you say you are. You are what you do. You are not necessarily what you say. Successful coaches and successful executives ultimately do what they say they want to do. That is the difference between success and failure.
By the Numbers
Total Yards: 363 Bears, 329 Texans
Total Plays: 57 Bears, 56 Texans
Yards Per Play: 5.9 Bears, 5.8 Texans
Rushing Yards: 281 Bears, 92 Texans
Passing Yards: 237 Texans, 82 Bears
Sacks: 5 Texans, 1 Bears
Turnovers Forced: 2 Texans. 2 Bears
Penalties: 3/25 Texans, 6/32 Bears
3 and Outs: 3(11) Texans, 2(6) Bears
The good news is that this is the third week in a row that the Texans have won or tied in the Culley section. They have either tied or won the turnover battle. They have committed fewer penalties than their opponent in all three games. This is an example of saying you will make fewer mistakes than your opponent and actually committing fewer mistakes than your opponent. You are who you say you are.
They say they want to be a physical team that can run the football. This is not who this team is. They threw the ball 32 times and ran it 24 times. They pulled Dameon Pierce late because of fumble issues and went with Rex Burkhead. Burkhead is not a back that can run the ball consistently. He just isn’t. Three weeks in a row the Texans have played close, one score games and three weeks in a row they have thrown more passes than they run the ball.
The sad thing is that unlike past seasons they can actually run the ball. They gained 92 yards on 24 carries, but Pierce was effective when he ran the ball. That has been largely true for all three games this season. The three and outs category is an indication of where this offense is. They had three three-and-outs on Sunday and 11 for the season. They forced only two on Sunday and have forced only six for the season. That can be explained almost completely by the difference between how many rushing yards they allow as compared to how many they gain.
The Mills Report
Like any other sport, football is a team game. Yet, here we are looking at the quarterback every week. Some of that is due to the overall importance of the position in general and some of that is due to the amount of pressure on Davis Mills specifically. Is he the quarterback of the future? Well, each week gives us more evidence one way or the other.
32 attempts, 245 yards, 62.5%, 7.7 YPA, 1 TD, 2 INT, 70.4 QBR, 19.4 ESPN
Let’s start with some positives. He threw some chunk plays unlike previous weeks. You can generally live with a 7.7 yards per attempt average if your quarterback can produce that week in and week out. He has three touchdowns and all of them have been to tight ends. In going on with our general theme of being who you say you are, the Texans have definitely taken a step forward in incorporating their tight ends.
Unfortunately, the positives end there for the most part. Mills did make progress in dealing with pressure. That is true at least in terms of avoiding the sack, but the ESPN rating and traditional QBR tell the story. He tried to explain away the interceptions with the idea of tipped balls and is true that quarterbacks have limited control there. Yet, in both cases he was locked in on his primary receiver. That gives defenders more opportunities to be there for tips in the first place.
The larger question is why you are locked in on Rex Burkhead in the first place. Of course, that is a question that goes far beyond Davis Mills. Why in the hell is he on the field to begin with? Why is he even on the roster? A team that says they are a physical running team doesn’t use guys like Burkhead as a primary or secondary running back. If you want to bench Pierce for fumble issues that’s fine, but either get a better option or don’t key your offense around Burkhead. Part of that is on Mills though. If you primary target is covered you go somewhere else or you throw it away.