The Houston Texans are a few plays away from being 3-0 heading into Week 4.
But there's little point in wasting time on what could've been. Instead, the Texans should hang their heads high knowing the success that's to come after the way the team's top rookies have played through three weeks, including in Sunday's 23-20 loss to the Chicago Bears.
On the surface, a 0-2-1 record isn't something to write home about. But Houston has many reasons to feel positive, even though the moral victories probably aren't what the team would like to hear about right now.
Rookies like defensive backs Derek Stingley Jr. and Jalen Pitre, offensive guard Kenyon Green, and running back Dameon Pierce are motivating the Texans to keep fighting.
A fourth-round pick, Pitre was the star of the defense on Sunday, as he posted the first two interceptions of his career and tallied his first-career sack on a crucial takedown of Bears quarterback Justin Fields. The sack came with the game tied late in the fourth and Houston looking to get the ball back.
Pitre's two interceptions came on diving picks in the center of the field from his safety spot, as he more than made up for the dropped interception he had in the season-opening tie against the Indianapolis Colts.
If not for Pitre, the Texans could have easily lost by two possessions.
His incredible play overshadowed Stingley Jr. getting his first-career sack as well. The former LSU cornerback and third overall pick also added three solo tackles on Sunday and has three passes defended through his first three games.
And as for the offense?
The No. 15 overall pick in April's draft, offensive lineman Kenyon Green made his first start at left guard in Week 2 against the Denver Broncos and got the start again vs. Chicago.
On what was essentially the game-sealing interception by Texans quarterback Davis Mills, he had ample time in the pocket before getting picked by Bears linebacker Roquan Smith.
This was all due to Green, who delivered a vicious block against Bears defensive end Robert Quinn. The three-time Pro Bowler was spinning off the edge but immediately met the grass with force due to Green's violent and legal block.
Of course, the takedown of Quinn will be easily swept under the rug due to the pick by Smith and the win it basically gave Chicago. But Green did his part and did it impressively well against a talented Bears defense. Per PFF's grades from Week 3, Green secured the third-best grade (72.1) on the team in just his second-career start.
And after two weeks of uncertainty, Pierce finally emerged as Houston's true starter at running back, totaling 20 carries for 80 yards and his first-career touchdown. He also added two catches for 21 yards while running back Rex Burkhead, who has eaten into Pierce's potential workload the past two weeks, had just seven total touches.
You can't talk about the Texans without the impressive play from their handful of rookies. And with the way they're all playing, Houston is sure to break through for its first win in the coming weeks after coming up just short once again against the Bears.
The Texans host the Los Angeles Chargers (1-2) on Sunday, Oct. 2 at 12 p.m. C.T.
You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7
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