Houston, we have a problem.
The Texans jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter on Sunday before slowly allowing the Colts to get back into the game. Houston turned the ball over three times – two interceptions, one fumble – but Indianapolis countered with three turnovers of its own.
Entering the fourth quarter, the Texans led 24-21 before allowing 10 straight points.
The first pick appeared to be locked up for Houston – until the unthinkable happened. Davis Mills and Co. put together a 14-play scoring drive, with two fourth-down conversions of 12 and 20 yards. The latter came with under a minute to play, as Mills heaved a Hail Mary touchdown to Jordan Akins to pull Houston within one point.
Instead of playing for overtime, Smith dialed up a two-point call. Mills found Akins again in the end zone to give the Texans a shocking 32-31 lead.
The Colts got the ball back with 50 seconds remaining, but they only managed 21 yards before a midfield Hail Mary attempt from Sam Ehlinger came up short.
The Texans showed some fight in recent weeks – including one-score losses to the playoff-bound Cowboys and Chiefs and a win over the Titans in Week 16 – but the team enters the offseason with plenty of holes to fill. The No. 2 overall pick should net them a high-level talent, but it’s a tough consolation prize after being in position to pick first for most of the season.
A trio of quarterbacks – Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud and Kentucky’s Will Levis – could tempt Houston at No. 2. Second-year QB Davis Mills started 15 games for the Texans in 2022, totaling 3,118 yards, 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
If they don’t love any of the quarterbacks, a pair of defensive players could join Williams and Clowney as pass-rushers drafted first overall by the Texans. Alabama’s Will Anderson and Georgia’s Jalen Carter are expected to be top-five picks, with the potential to lead the draft.
Houston picked at No. 3 and No. 15 overall last year, selecting cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. and offensive lineman Kenyon Green. They’ll have two first-round picks again in 2023 and 2024 after the Deshaun Watson trade, which netted them the No. 12 pick this year from the Cleveland Browns.
The Texans have never picked second in their 21-year history, but they’ve held the top pick three times (David Carr 2002, Mario Williams 2006, Jadeveon Clowney 2014).