Mandatory Credit: Photo by Joe Marino/UPI/Shutterstock (13452606f) Texans Running Back Dameon Pierce (31) celebrates his running for a touchdown as Outside Lineman Laremy Tunsil (78) downs the football in the end zone in the Fourth Quarter as the Texans take on the Jaguars at the TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida on Sunday, October 9, 2022. The Texans defeated the Jaguars 13-6. Texans versus Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida, United States - 09 Oct 2022

Smith praises Pierce, Stingley in victory over Jaguars

The Houston Texans head coach was impressed by two of his star rookies.

In the aftermath of the Houston Texans first win of the season, a 13-6 win over the Jaguars in Jacksonville, Texans head coach Lovie Smith had glowing reviews for two of his impact rookie players.

RB Dameon Pierce finished the game with 26 carries for 99 yards and a touchdown, as well as 3 receptions for 14 yards. His touchdown was set up by a 20-yard rumble to the 2-yard line in which he broke six tackles.

Smith said his rookie running back has made a significant impact on the team:

I’d say he’s had a consistent impact on our team from when he came into the building.
We know that he’s going to finish. He’s going to show toughness. He’s going to make plays. He’s going to
make you miss in the open field. He’s doing what a one running back in the NFL should do, and on a day
like today, we needed to lean on the run, and I thought he was outstanding.

The Texans head coach remarked about Pierce’s toughness, particularly on that 20 yard “beast mode” style run:

“It’s fitting that he would — when we needed a play like that, that he would be the one that
showed up. We’re a running football team. He’s our tailback. The toughness that you want to bring,
especially in a game like that — I mean, it’s late in the game. Somebody has got to make a play. There’s
no such thing as fatigue, then. You know I can talk about Dameon quite a bit. I just believe in the guy.”

Smith shared his strong belief in the team’s 3rd overall pick, Derek Stingley Jr., as a future star player:

Stingley is going to be a great player. I’ve talked about how smart he is
knowing the game. He learns something every snap. I thought he competed hard. Steve Nelson did. I
thought our backs, secondary did. We knew who we were playing coming in, and as you can see, we
kind of leaned on one coverage a little bit more. You guys say that all you do is play cover two. Well, we
played cover two quite a few times today, and we got some results from it.

In reference to learning, Smith recalled the play where Stingley got his first career interception as being one he had seen from the Chargers last week. Stingley’s interception in the end zone thwarted the Jaguars best scoring opportunity of the game.

“Whenever you can take the ball away in the end zone, that’s huge. They
have a chance. 14. Look at it, at least 10 — for a fact, you’re taking away seven points probably, so that
was big. That was a good play. The play that they ran was the same one that the [Los Angeles] Chargers
ran on us on 4th down last week. We were ready for it this time.

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