Inefficient first halves characterize Texans’ struggles with Davis Mills under center

HOUSTON – There are a lot of issues that have hampered the Houston Texans’ chances of success this year. Even with a 1-7-1 record, the Texans have been competitive in many of their losses and could have walked away victorious in most of them.

The Texans’ first-half strategies in the passing game led by second-year quarterback Davis Mills have become an issue for Houston in the Texans’ last three losses to the Tennessee Titans, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants. Mills has averaged 4.7 yards passing in the first half of the last three games and has been held to under 40 yards in the first and second quarters in two of those contests (Titans-17, Giants-35).

“We have a balanced attack, and we try to run, I’m going back to the first play of the game, we try to run, we try to pass, we mix it up,” Texans head coach Lovie Smith told reporters when asked about Mills’ slow starts. “On what has happened back there, I really don’t know.”

An efficient first-half by Mills could have put the Texans in a position to lead going into halftime against New York, something they have not done since Week 3 against the Chicago Bears, where they led 14-13 at the end of the second quarter.

Houston’s defense has given up 93 first-half points in nine games, averaging 10.3 points per game. They have held opponents to 14 points or less in eight of those games, but during those first nine contests, the Texans’ offense has only been able to score 73 points which is good for an average of just over eight points per game.

With that type of inefficiency, some have wondered if it is time for coach Smith to make a change at the quarterback position and bring in backup Kyle Allen to see if he can jump-start the Texans’ offense.

“If there’s a position where you don’t rotate a guy, you’re going to let that guy play a little bit longer,” said Smith on Monday when asked about taking Mills out of the starting lineup. “We evaluate everybody. Right now, what I said yesterday right after the game and what I’m saying now, we don’t think that the play right now just Davis Mills play solves all of our problems, ‘Let’s just get Davis out of there and everything’s okay.’ We’re going to keep working on a lot of different things. That’s what I said yesterday. That’s what I’m saying today.”

Houston has a demanding back half of their schedule against teams that have a possibility to make it into the NFL’s postseason, and Mills will be rigorously tested if Smith keeps him in the starting lineup. With the season lost as far as playoff aspirations are concerned, general manager Nick Caserio could use the remaining games to evaluate the quarterback. The Texans are in a prime position to have the number one overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft that some analysts have labeled as quarterback heavy class.


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Story originally appeared on Texans Wire