Dec 18, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills (10) runs for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
For the second week in a row, the Texans hung tough with one of the NFL’s top teams. And for the second week in a row, they came up short in gut-wrenching fashion. Here are Gallery Sports’ five observations from the Texans’ 30-24 loss to the Chiefs.
The two-quarterback system is here for the rest of the season: While the two-quarterback platoon that the Texans are employing is clearly not the long-term answer, it has yielded two of the best offensive performances of the season for Houston. This effort versus the Chiefs ties a season-high in points for the Texans (Week 4 at Chargers). The offense’s performance in this two QB system has been a critical component in the Houston remaining competitive and holding leads for big chunks of the game against two of the best teams in the league the last two weeks. The Texans are still the worst team in the NFL but are not a laughingstock at the moment.
Chris Moore and Jordan Akins will be starters for the Texans in 2023: Both of these players have stepped up in a major way when given opportunities in this offense. In a unit lacking playmakers Moore and Akins have been bright spots. Moore has been particularly productive, totaling 309 receiving yards (61.8 ypg) since Week 10. They may not be long-term starters, but on a team in the early stages of the rebuilding process and likely to let Brandin Cooks leave in the offseason, look for both players to be opening-day starters in 2023. Going forward, as the Texans’ talent improves, both may move to key reserve/complementary roles but at the start of next season, expect both to be in the starting lineup for Houston.
Pep Hamilton crafted another masterful game plan: Many, including yours truly, figured with a week of film to look at, the gimmick that is the Texans’ two QB offense would be solved by a smart NFL defensive coordinator like Steve Spagnola. Throw in that the Texans lost their best offensive weapon in running back Dameon Pierce to an ankle injury, and Houston looked cooked. Well, Pep Hamilton designed a game plan that, while it didn’t put up a ton of yards (219), did not turn over the football until Davis Mills crushing fumble in overtime and finished drives when handed opportunities by a Chiefs team that turned the ball over twice and committed a ton of drive extending penalties (10 for 102 yards). The lack of mistakes and the ability to take advantage of the opportunities handed to them by Kansas City is a testament to the coaching by Pep Hamilton and the offensive coaching staff, as it was a key component in allowing an outmanned team to compete with one of the NFL’s best for the second straight week.
Fighting Hard: Plain and simple, the Texans had nothing to play for but pride, and they played their tails off! The fan base has stayed away in droves, and NRG stadium looks like a Texans road game week after week, yet Houston, while completely outgunned, has scrapped and battled the last two weeks.
It Changes Nothing: If you are under the misapprehension that the effort and results versus the Chiefs and Cowboys the last two weeks changes anything, it doesn’t. This team needs to draft a franchise quarterback number one overall and continue the ground-up rebuilding process.