The Houston Texans' poor 2022 season continued on with another loss in Week 9. This time around, the Texans lost to the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles 29-17 at home on Thursday Night Football. At 1-6-1, the worst record in the AFC, Houston has been looking ahead to 2023 for some time now.
To the Texans' credit, they hung around well in the first half of this game. With a 14-14 tie at half, Houston had some hope of pulling off the impossible. Then, the second half hit and the Eagles pulled away to win by two scores.
Despite the loss, there were still some encouraging signs for Houston. Rookie running back Dameon Pierce had his best game of the season with 139 yards on 27 carries, while rookie cornerback Derek Stingley was lockdown in coverage. The Texans also debuted their spiffy new “Battle Red” helmets, which looked sharp under the primetime lights.
Derek Stingley vs Eagles:
• 35 coverage snaps
• 2 targets
• 1 reception allowed (9 yards)
• 0 TD allowed
The Texans rookie CB had the CLAMPS on TNF 🔒 pic.twitter.com/51yNHQhc3n
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) November 4, 2022
Considering the talent gap between the teams, this game could have gone a lot worse. With the Texans chasing a top draft pick in 2023, and the Houston Astros defeating the Philadelphia Phillies the same night, Houston fans can hold their heads high. That said, a loss is still a loss.
Without further delay, let's go over some Texans most responsible for the loss to the Eagles.
3. Brandin Cooks
Truthfully, few Houston players stood out as particularly bad on Thursday night. Some played well, while most played about on par with expectations. This made picking players for this list especially difficult.
Cooks didn't play at all on Thursday, at least partially due to the Texans not trading him before Tuesday's deadline. Ordinarily, a player not playing would be exempt from lists such as this, but this is an exception for a couple of reasons. Cooks sat out largely for personal reasons, and Houston really could have used him in this game.
Texans’ WR Brandin Cooks will not play tonight vs. the Eagles, per ESPN’s @WerderEdESPN. Cooks has missed practice for what the team has described as personal reasons. He had hoped to be traded to a playoff contender.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 3, 2022
The Texans weren't just missing Cooks, but their second receiver Nico Collins as well. This left Houston with a makeshift receiving corps of Phillip Dorsett, Chris Moore, and Tyron Johnson. Dorsett and Moore played decently, but Houston desperately missed its top target on Thursday night.
2. Rasheem Green
Houston's defensive line was a mixed bag on Thursday night. On one hand, the Texans sacked Jalen Hurts four times, tied for the most sacks he has taken this season. On the other hand, the Eagles gashed them for 143 yards rushing, including some long runs.
Green earns this spot over the other defensive lineman for one simple reason: he was practically invisible on the stat sheet. The first-year Texan had no tackles all game, and not even a QB hit. The only contribution he had on the stat sheet was a single pass break up.
Green is far from the biggest name in the league, but he is still a starter for the Texans. Any time a starting defender records zero tackles in a game, something is wrong.
1. Davis Mills (in the second half)
To be abundantly clear, Mills is not on this list for his performance in the first half. The former Stanford quarterback was actually spectacular in the first half, with two touchdowns and only one incompletion. He looked to be on track for a career game until the wheels came off.
Davis Mills in the 1st half:
♦️ 1 incompletion
♦️ 2 TDs
♦️ 147.9 passer rating pic.twitter.com/9Tdjv7kjng
— PFF (@PFF) November 4, 2022
Mills had a dreadful second half, completing just five of 13 passes with two interceptions. Despite finishing the first half with a 147.9 passer rating, that dropped to 72.9 by the end of the game. His drop off in the second half was arguably the main reason why the Texans fell out of the game.
Mills has the unenviable task of quarterbacking a rebuilding team, which means he is constantly fighting for his job against the top QB prospects. He has shown flashes, but if he continues to be so inconsistent, he won't last long as Houston's starter.