Texans not capitalizing on RB Dameon Pierce’s ability to create short yardage situations

·2 min read

The Houston Texans have a commitment to run the football. The Chicago Bears have a problem stopping the run. It should mean the Texans have a less difficult path to get their first win of the year in Week 3 at Soldier Field.

The problem for Houston through the first two games hasn’t been their run game necessarily — at least, not as far as rookie running back Dameon Pierce is concerned. The fourth-rounder from Florida had 11 carries for 33 yards in the 20-20 with the Indianapolis Colts, but he got more of a workload in the 16-9 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 2 with 15 rushes for 69 yards, a more respectable 4.6 yards per carry.

If Pierce is starting to be effective on the ground, why haven’t the Texans been able to win?

Part of the reason relates to the passing game, specifically the offense’s inability to pickup third downs. Houston was 2-13 on third down in Week 2’s loss at Denver. Furthermore quarterback Davis Mills went 19-of-38 for 177 yards. Although Mills’ signature ball security was on display, so too was his notorious inability to execute big plays.

Even if Mills’ 63.2 passer rating against the Broncos were a team stat, it would nevertheless underscore how ineffective the passing game has been. The run game has generated the opportunities, but the passing game has not kept the drives alive.

“When you’re rushing for five yards a play or close to it, that’s what you want,” Mills told reporters Sept. 21. “It’ll put us in third-and-manageable situations or second-and-short. If we feel like we can be in those situations, we feel like we can convert those plays and keep the ball moving.”

The Bears give up the most rushing yards per game at 189.5, and are tied for the sixth-highest yards per carry surrendered at 5.1. However, if the Texans call pass, or have to pass, if the passing game is still a 50% prop to complete — let alone convert — it could make for the same problems they have been struggling with since Denver.

Story originally appeared on Texans Wire