Offense fails again as Texans lose 23-10 to Commanders

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Matt Patterson/AP/Shutterstock (13603698lh) Houston Texans offensive lineman Kenyon Green (59) looks to block during an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, in Houston Titans Texans Football, Houston, United States – 30 Oct 2022

Offense fails again as Texans lose 23-10 to Commanders

After multiple players and coaches spoke all week about the need for the offense to start fast, they started in reverse.

It will be yet another Groundhog Day Sunday for the Houston Texans. They will once again lament starting slow, not getting points early, rue playing from behind, and curse their turnovers and poor decisions. Head coach Lovie Smith, offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, and quarterback Davis Mills will repeat the same lines they’ve been saying all season. Things like “we are very close,” “we need to prevent turnovers,” “we need to make better decisions,” and “we need to score more points” will all be said likely all week long because they always are.

The Texans fell to the Washington Commanders solely because their offense was putrid. It was whatever is worse than putrid. They made putrid look like a team of All-Pros. Every time you think they’ve hit bottom, they dig deeper.

Davis Mills threw a 37-yard pick-six on his second pass of the game, a pass telegraphed so badly they knew it was coming all the way back in the nation’s capital. The Texans had -1 passing yards at the half. That’s a negative sign, and it’s not a typo. They were outgained in the first half 246-to-5. It was a purely disgraceful performance endemic of the season for Houston.

It didn’t start ugly, but it got there in a hurry.

After the Texans won the opening toss and deferred, they held the Commanders to three-and-out and got the ball quickly.

On the Texans’ second offensive play, Davis Mills threw a highly telegraphed pass in the flat to Brandin Cooks that Kendall Fuller intercepted for a 37-yard touchdown return. Houston was down 7-0 just 1:44 into the game. Their ensuing drive was a three-and-out that resulted in -4 yards. Hardly the stuff fast starts are made of.

The Texans’ defense responded by forcing another three-and-out, doing their best to give the offense a chance to get it together. Their efforts were wasted.

The Texans went three-and-out yet again, although they did gain 9 yards on this drive. Progress?

Houston’s defense got yet another stop, as they stalled out the Commanders’ drive at the Houston 46, but the Texans would gain just four yards on their next drive and punt again.

Finally, the Commanders broke through. They went on a nine-play, 85-yard drive that consumed 5:11, spanning the end of the first quarter into the second. Key passes to Jahan Dotson (13 yds) and Logan Thomas (16 yds) fueled the drive that was capped off by a 10-yard run by WR Curtis Samuel. The Commanders took a 14-0 lead with 11:44 remaining in the first half.

After the Texans went three-and-out again, losing 11 yards in the process, the defense was right back on the field.

Washington would score again. After a 10-play, 54-yard drive over 4:50, the Commanders expanded the lead to 17-0 with a 25-yard FG by Joey Slye. Houston’s defense stiffened up in a goal-to-go situation, which they have done regularly this season. While the defense had only allowed 10 points, the team was down 17-0 with 4:53 to go before the half.

On the ensuing drive, the Texans had yet another three-and-out losing 2 yards. An exhausted defense that spent two-thirds of the first half on the field was asked to go right back out after two long drives and predictably surrendered more points.

The subsequent Commanders’ drive went 11 plays and 61 yards over 2:53 and ended with a 24-yard FG by Slye to expand the lead to 20-0 with seven seconds remaining in the first half.

Houston took a knee and went into the half down three scores.

At the half, the Texans had 5 net yards of offense, 6 net yards rushing, and -1 net yards passing. They accomplished all of this on 21 plays. Davis Mills was 6-of-9 for 22 yards and an interception. Dameon Pierce had been held to 2 yards on six carries. LG Kenyon Green was flagged for holding twice and missed several blocks that led to sacks and tackles for loss.

The Texans would get the ball first in the second half, and it almost looked like they may have figured things out. Brandin Cooks took a 5-yard pass and took off for 41 yards to set up first-and-10 at the Washington 22. Houston converted a fourth-and-3 at the Commanders’ 15, but on third-and-goal from the Washington 4, Mills was sacked for a 7-yard loss, and the Texans settled for a 29-yard field goal by Ka’imi Fairbairn, making the score 20-3 with 9:52 remaining in the third quarter.

The score seemed to energize the defense, who held Washington to just 15 yards and forced a punt.

The Texans’ offense couldn’t capitalize. Kenyon Green drew another flag, Mills was sacked for a 12-yard loss on third-and-10 from the Texans’ 22, and Cam Johnston was punting out of his own end zone.

Despite a 53-yard punt, poor coverage led to a 16-yard return by Dax Milne to the Houston 46-yard line to start the drive. Despite only allowing 20 yards over a 10-play drive, the Commanders put another field goal on the board as Slye connected from 44-yards out to extend the lead to 23-3 with 12:08 to go in the fourth quarter.

The Texans needed to respond on the next drive, as time was running out.

On a fourth-and-2 from their own 33, Brandin Cooks took another short pass from Mills and turned upfield for a 19-yard play, setting up a first down from the Washington 48. Mills would then throw deep down the right side for Chris Moore and incomplete. He followed that up by throwing deep down the left side for Cooks, but he threw short and into double coverage, and the ball was popped into the air and intercepted by Darrick Forrest.

This play essentially ended the game for the Texans, and they just wouldn’t have enough time to legitimately score enough to make up the 20-point deficit as they turned the ball over with 10:13 to go in the fourth quarter.

Houston’s defense would hold the Commanders to just four plays on their next drive, but Washington was able to take another 2:26 off the clock.

The Texans took over at their own 45 but with only 7:39 remaining in the game. This was basically garbage time.

Houston would get back on the board with an 11-play, 55-yard touchdown drive. The drive lasted 4:20 and was finished off with a 4-yard TD run by Davis Mills.

Houston converted two fouth-and-4’s on the drive, one at the Washington 27 on an 8-yard pass to Jordan Akins and the other at the Commanders 13 with a 10-yard completion to Cooks. This touchdown got the Texans to a more respectable 23-10 deficit, but this was a clear garbage-time TD. They scored with just 3:19 remaining on the clock.

The Texans tried an onside kick but could not convert it, and they would never get the ball back, with Washington driving from the Texans’ 42 to the Houston 4 before allowing the clock to run out.

With the victory, the Commanders improved to 6-5, the Texans fell to 1-8-1.

Next week, the Texans travel to Miami to take on the 7-3 Dolphins, who will be coming off the bye.

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1 Comment

  • worsest team in houston history. Lovie is brainless, livin in the wrong century. We deserve much much better. Grade-F minus

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