John McClain: Texans offense under Pep Hamilton is a mess, no matter who is playing QB

Mandatory Credit: Photo by David J Phillip/AP/Shutterstock (13069751g) Houston Texans offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton gives instructions during an NFL football training camp practice, in Houston Texans Camp Football, Houston, United States – 05 Aug 2022

John McClain: Texans offense under Pep Hamilton is a mess, no matter who is playing QB

The Texans may have a quarterback controversy, and it has nothing to do with playing time.

Kyle Allen said two days ago he had split repetitions with Davis Mills during practice last week and didn’t learn until Friday he would start Sunday’s game at Miami – his first appearance in two years.

After losing 30-15 in a game the Dolphins led 30-0 at halftime, coach Lovie Smith contradicted Allen by insisting his quarterbacks did not split reps with the starters.

“We didn’t split his reps in practice,” Smith said after the Texans’ record plunged to 1-9-1. “We have two (quarterbacks) that get reps each week. It wasn’t a split of the reps. We felt like we practiced enough.”

Just not enough to avoid another first-half embarrassment. In their last two losses to Washington and Miami, the Texans have been outscored 50-0 and outgained 533-37 in the first half. They were outgained Sunday 287-32. In the first half of the last two defeats, they have four first downs compared to 33, and the offense is 1-of-12 on third down.

Smith will have to excuse fans and media for being confused about Allen’s first start. Even though Smith didn’t admit Allen would replace Mills until Friday, everyone had known it since Wednesday. It seems like Allen would have taken every snap last week with the starters.

This is what Allen said Friday when he met with the media.

“We didn’t really know anything earlier in the week,” he said. “We were just splitting reps, and (Friday), he (Smith) told me I was playing.”

The Texans’ offense is so bad under coordinator and play-caller Pep Hamilton it wouldn’t have mattered if Allen took every snap with the starters last week.

Mills was benched after the Texans produced 5 yards in the first half and trailed the Commanders 20-0 in what turned out to be a 23-10 loss.

When a team starts games so pathetically, it’s a reflection on the coaching — the preparation and the game plan. And it’s not the defense as much as Hamilton’s offense.

It’s inexcusable how dreadful and unproductive the offense has been in the first half of the last two games.

“We didn’t get a lot done,” Smith said about the first half. “As coaches, we’ve got to do a better job. Offensively and defensively, we’ve got to get more production. We’ve got to start the games a lot better than that.

“Protection wasn’t good again, early on, and we didn’t give ourselves a chance. Defensively, the big plays in the first half really hurt us.”

Allen was much more effective in the second half when the Miami defense played it safe. He finished with 26-of-39 for 215 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and a 67.8 rating. He was sacked five times.

“Kyle and the offense didn’t start the way we needed to, but in the second half, we had our moments,” Smith said. “It’s never good when you turn the ball over. You can’t win games when you turn it over. They scored a touchdown (on a fumble return) and got one inside the 5-yard line (on an interception). An offense can’t allow that to happen.”

Smith’s frustration with the Texans’ record and the negative questions he receives from the media has caused him to become defensive at the podium. He gets snippy with reporters who ask him questions fans also want to know the answers to.

“We’re building,” he said. “Right now, it’s kind of easy to take shots at us because we’re not there. We’ll take that, but, eventually, we’ll get over the hump.”

As Smith knows but won’t admit, the primary problem is Hamilton’s offense. The offense can’t put together four consistent quarters, but Smith continues to support Hamilton. The running game has become obsolete in the last two games, producing only 36 yards and a 2.6 average Sunday.

The defense and special teams didn’t cost the Texans the Miami game. Or the Washington game, for that matter.

Special teams continue to excel. If only they could score touchdowns in the first half.

The defense didn’t allow cornerback Xavien Howard’s 16-yard fumble return for a touchdown that tight end Jordan Akins set up. It wasn’t the fault of the defense that an Allen interception gave Miami a 3-yard touchdown drive. And it wasn’t the defense’s fault that Allen floated a deep pass that was intercepted with 2:40 left in the game.

The Texans treated quarterback Tua Tagovailoa rudely, sacking him five times and having another one nullified because of a penalty. Tackle Maliek Collins had two sacks. Coach Mike McDaniel pulled Tagovailoa with 3 ½ minutes left in the third quarter to protect him.

A defense that’s the worst in the NFL against the run limited the Dolphins to 66 yards rushing, including 2.5 a carry.

No, this game was lost because of the offense.

Allen’s first interception set up a 3-yard scoring drive that made it 17-0 early in the second quarter.

“I know I’m a much better player than I showed today,” Allen said. “We’re down 17-0, and I’ve got to be a lot better if we want to win games. Offensively, we struggled early, and the interception put us in a really bad spot.

“At the quarterback position, you can make things right when things are wrong. It’s my job to do that and play better.”

The 30-0 lead allowed the Miami defense to play it safe with its second-half coverage.

“They played well on the back end, and then they got a lead quick, they played soft the rest of the game,” Allen said. “When they’re playing soft, you have to take your dinks and dunks down the field until you score.”

Tagovailoa, 14-2 in his last 16 starts, threw for 299 yards and a touchdown before being pulled. His favorite receivers – Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle – didn’t score. Hill caught six passes for 85 yards and Waddle five for 85, including an outstanding reception for a 34-yard gain.

This game was over early in the second quarter, and the 30-point halftime lead was insurmountable.

“Offensively, we were able to get a little bit going in the passing game,” Smith said about the second half. “Protection was better. Made better throws. Caught the ball better. Never got the running game going.

“With everything that happened, at least at the end, I think we made progress.”

With Deshaun Watson and the Browns coming to NRG Stadium in the next game, it could get worse for the Texans. Watson is coming off his 11-game suspension for violating the NFL’s code of conduct and will try to take out his frustration on his former team.

Meanwhile, Smith is looking for positives anywhere he can find them.

“We didn’t win the game,” he said. “We’re not patting ourselves on the back, but we’re looking for positives as we go forward. We’re not there yet. That’s obvious to everyone.”

It’s so obvious it’s crystal clear.

(John McClain writes four columns a week for He can be heard Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday on Sports Radio 610 and Monday and Thursday on Texans Radio. He does three weekly Houtopia podcasts for 610. He also can be read three times a week on

Related Posts:

1 Comment

  • This coaching staff is highschool dropouts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *