Mandatory Credit: Photo by Nam Y Huh/AP/Shutterstock (13419235bb) Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills (10) throws a pass against the Chicago Bears during the first half of an NFL football game, in Chicago Texans Bears Football, Chicago, United States – 25 Sep 2022
Davis Mills and the offense fail late, Bears run all over Houston as Texans fall in Chicago
The Chicago Bears racked up an astonishing 281 yards rushing and capitalized on a late Davis Mills interception deep in Texans territory as Houston went down in Chicago 23-20.
Davis Mills was 20/32 for 245 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. The second interception, however, sealed the Texans fate.
On third and one from their own 26, Davis Mills was looking for Rex Burkhead on a short pass to the left side but instead found Roquan Smith, who returned it 18 yards to the Texans 12 yards line with just 1:05 to go in the fourth quarter. Cairo Santos connected on a 30-yard field goal as time expired for decisive points.
The game didn’t start well for Houston, as the Bears scored on their first two drives.
Chicago opened the game with a nine-play, 45-yard drive in 3:38 that led to a 47-yard field goal by Santos. The drive was keyed by a 29-yard scramble by Justin Fields on a 3rd & 9 in which the Texans defense lost containment.
Houston followed with a three and out.
Chicago would then go on a six-play, 81-yard touchdown drive in just 3:16. The first play of the drive saw Equanimeous St. Brown take a jet sweep 41 yards around the left side to the Texans’ 40. Two plays later, the Bears would lose starting RB David Montgomery to a knee and ankle injury, and he would not return. Khalil Herbert replaced him and would pick up 30 yards on three carries, including an 11-yard touchdown run to extend Chicago’s lead to 10-0.
The Texans would respond with a touchdown drive of their own, covering 75 yards in 7 plays over 3:05. A big completion from Davis Mills to Chris Moore for 52 yards on 3rd & 7 from the Texans 28 flipped the field. Four plays later, Mills found tight end Jordan Akins for a 4-yard touchdown. Akins was elevated to the main roster from the practice squad Saturday and caught his first touchdown since 2020.
On the Bears’ subsequent possession, Jalen Pitre would force the game’s first turnover.
On 2nd and 11 from their own 19, Bears QB Justin Fields threw over the middle looking for TE Cole Kmet but was intercepted by Pitre at the Chicago 43. It was Pitre’s first interception of his career.
Houston quickly moved down the field on a pair of strikes from Mills to Cooks (17 yards) and Collins (19 yards). On 2nd & Goal from the Bears 7, Mills’ pass to Cooks in the end zone was deflected and popped up into the air, where it was intercepted in the back of the end zone by Eddie Jackson for a touchback.
Regarding the play, Mills said: “I mean, Brandin was the primary there. It was tight coverage by the defense. He made a good play on it and tipped the ball up, and their safety ended up finding a way to get back in the play and pick it off.”
The next three drives between the team would combine for 11 plays, 22 yards, and three punts. The teams traded punts, and then Chicago punted again.
A big punt return by Desmond King of 31 yards set the Texans up starting field position at the Bears’ 41. Four straight carries by Dameon Pierce had the Texans in the end zone. It was Pierce’s first career touchdown. Houston had a 14-10 lead.
The Bears would then hold the ball for 5:44 as they completed a 12-play, 50-yard drive capped off by a 50-yard Santos FG to get Chicago within one.
Houston went three and out in 44 seconds, but the Bears couldn’t mount enough offense to get into field goal range before the half.
Houston opened the second half with another scoring drive, going 54 yards in 7 plays in 3:35. A 39-yard FG by Ka’imi Fairbairn keyed by a 25-yard pass from Mills to Akins extended the Texans’ lead to 17-13.
It would be short lived.
The Bears would run straight through the Texans on their next drive for the go-ahead touchdown. Khalil Herbert broke a 52-yard run on Chicago’s first play. Fields then connected with St. Brown on a 20-yard pass to set up 1st and Goal at the Houston 3. Herbert would punch it in 3 plays later, and the Bears would take a 20-17 lead.
Houston would respond immediately with an extended 14-play, 70-yard drive that took a whopping 7:31 off the clock. The drive was kept alive by a converted fake punt on a 4th and one from the Houston 46. Mills hit Collins for 22 yards on the next play to the Chicago 29 and Dorsett for 15 yards to the Bears’ 11. It was Dorsett’s first catch of the season.
On 3rd & 1 from the 2, the Texans offensive line collapsed, and Dameon Pierce was tackled for a 3-yard loss on a play he never had a chance on. Fairbairn would knock through a 23-yard field goal to tie the game at 20 with 54 seconds remaining in the 3rd quarter.
On the first play of the 4th quarter, a 3rd & 6 from the Chicago 26, Jalen Pitre would get his second interception of the game. Fields threw deep over the middle again looking for Darnell Mooney but misfired, and Pitre picked him off and returned it 20 yards to the Chicago 39.
The Texans had prime field position to take the lead, but something very important had just happened.
It was the fourth quarter.
The Texans’ fourth quarter offensive woes in the first two games of the season are well documented, and they would continue in full force on Sunday.
Despite starting a potential go-ahead drive at the Bears’ 39. The Texans lost 9 yards on three plays, including an 8-yard sack of Mills and a pass to Brown for a 5-yard loss. The Texans punted in 2:11. They couldn’t even get into field goal range when they have a kicker with a huge leg.
Unlike the last two games, the Houston defense would perform well in the fourth. Derek Stingley came up with a big sack on 3rd and eight at the Texans’ 43 to stop the Bears’ drive and force a punt.
Houston took over 1st and 10 at the own nine, but the drive only went six plays and 30 yards before the Texans needed to punt again. Their two fourth-quarter drives thus far equated to 9 plays and 21 yards.
The Houston defense was up to the task, however, forcing a punt after just four plays and 20 yards.
The Texans would start their next drive at their own 17, with 1:42 remaining in the fourth quarter. On third and one from their own 26, Mills telegraphed a pass on the left side intended for Rex Burkhead that was tipped and hit Bears linebacker Roquan Smith right in the hands. Smith returned the interception to the Texans’ 12 with 1:05 remaining.
Davis Mills described the play: “It’s tough. We talked about it a lot; tipped balls never touch the ground. Got through my progression, made the correct read, had Rex open, and the ball got tipped at the line. Nothing I could really do about it there. Good play by the defense. Just unfortunate down in the red zone, too.”
The Bears ran the clock down, and Santos converted a game-winning 30-yard field goal as time expired.