Davis Mills, Pep Hamilton are central to the Texans’ offensive struggles

There was a lot of hype surrounding the Houston Texans offense coming into the season. It was supposed to be more exciting than the past two seasons under the direction of former offensive coordinator Tim Kelley. The first two games have been very monotonous, and that is putting it nicely.

Houston failed to produce a touchdown in their 16-9 loss to the Denver Broncos. As a matter of fact, the Texans have not been celebrated in the end zone for over five regular quarters and one overtime period.

Although the season is still very early, with just two games being played, Texans fans must ask themselves will this pattern continue. Or is it a continuity issue that must be fixed between new offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and quarterback Davis Mills?

Each played a part in the stall of the offense in the season opener against the Indianapolis Colts, producing only 25 yards in the fourth quarter and overtime. Sunday’s game was no different as the offense looked lethargic in the second half outside of two big plays downfield late in the fourth quarter.

For his part, Mills has been very indecisive late in games this season and even takes a long time to come off his first option in the pass routes, which was a trait he showed throughout training camp and preseason.

Against the Broncos, Mills missed many opportunities to get the ball to open receivers and only got the Texans in the red zone once. Hamilton tried to help Mills by cutting the field in half by giving him some rollout plays to get him out of the pocket, but he was still ineffective.

Even when the Texans defense forced a punt to get the ball back late in the fourth quarter trailing by seven points, Mills was inaccurate, not completing one pass on the final drive.

Hamilton must also shoulder a lot of the blame for the Texans’ inadequacies on the offensive side of the ball. His play calling through three quarters seems to be reasonably good, but it has been questionable once the final period starts.

The only flash we have seen from his playbook was a flea-flicker to start the second half of the overtime tie against the Colts that should have produced a touchdown had Mills been able to hit receiver Brandin Cooks in stride.

That play produced 33 yards, but it was the only exciting play the Texans had as Hamilton went back to running the ball, trying to protect a lead instead of creating more points.

One other obvious flaw in the play calling that has most fans and analyst scratching their heads is the absence of touches by the Texans’ tight ends. O.J. Howard flashed some of the athleticism that made him a first-round draft selection in 2017 by Tampa Bay by scoring two touchdowns in the first game of the season. On Sunday, he touched the ball once for seven yards. Add that to Pharaoh Brown’s three receptions and Brevin Jordan’s two, and the tight ends had a total of six catches for 34 yards.

“We’re not there yet,” said coach Lovie Smith about his offense. “It’s kind of simply that. We show flashes of what we can be. You’ve got to be able to pass the ball. In games, you’ve got to eventually come down to being able to pass the ball.”

Houston is only averaging 266.5 yards per game which ranks them 29th in the NFL. Their 14.5-point average in the first two games ties them for 28th in the league. To raise those numbers, Hamilton and Mills will have to do extensive film studies and get on the same page.

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Story originally appeared on Texans Wire