Mandatory Credit: Photo by John Locher/AP/Shutterstock (13489109cq) Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills scrambles during the second half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, in Las Vegas Texans Raiders Football, Las Vegas, United States – 23 Oct 2022
The Houston Texans quarterback played his best game of the season, but is it a turning point?
Davis Mills easily played his best game of the season Sunday for the Texans, despite the team dropping a 38-20 decision to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Mills had his first 300-yard game of the season, completing 28 of 41 attempts for 302 yards and two scores. He also had an interception returned for a touchdown late in the game down double digits.
The most important aspect of this game for Mills was his decision-making. The tentativeness that he had displayed all year was gone. His incessant need to check down constantly disappeared. Mills was confident, threw the ball with power and accuracy, and, most importantly, threw the ball down the field.
This was not a game played by “Dump off Davis”; Mills looked like the quarterback who played the final five games of the 2021 season with precision and confidence. He looked like the player who had the Texans convinced he had the tools, the ability, and the makeup to potentially be a long-term starting quarterback, if not a franchise-level guy.
Mills cohorts, unfortunately, couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain. His receivers dropped some passes, his offensive line struggled badly in the second half (particularly the fourth quarter), and the defense completely unraveled after halftime.
The fact Mills looked like a real NFL quarterback today and not like a major project lacking confidence was important. Maybe the bye week enabled him to see things on film and make adjustments to be more successful. Perhaps being in Week 7 in a Pep Hamilton-led offense has Mills feeling more comfortable. Maybe the development of Nico Collins, Jordan Akins’s ascension, and Chris Moore’s return gave Mills enough people to throw to with confidence that he didn’t need to lock on one receiver. Maybe it was all of those things.
The end result was what mattered. Not the end result of the loss but the result of his play. The fact the Texans’ offense could go back and forth with the Raiders for three full quarters before the team came undone is something that Davis Mills could not prevent.
Clearly, it’s too early to say, “Davis Mills is back, baby!” but this was definitely the most positive showing for Mills this year. Can he build on this and continue to grow, and give the Texans reason to feel they have their quarterback of the future over the next 10 weeks? Will Mills revert to his “Dump off Davis” alter ego and be maddeningly futile? Time will tell, but Mills now has something substantial to build on.
Something he didn’t have until this week.