HOUSTON — For the second week in a row, the Houston Texans had a chance to receive their first victory of the 2022 campaign. And for the second consecutive week, the Texans failed to take advantage of the opportunity.
"To win football games, you have to stop losing," coach Lovie Smith said after the game. "We had an opportunity to do well. I think our guys played hard, but offensively never really got things going."
Houston's defense had another collapse during the fourth quarter. But most of the Texans' struggles on Sunday took place on the offensive side of the ball. Houston recorded 234 total yards at Empower Field at Mile High stadium en route to a 16-9 defeat to the Denver Broncos.
Rookie running back Dameon Pierce gave the Texans modest production by recording a team-high 69 yards on 15 carries. But Smith was more displeased by the Texans' passing game attack in Denver.
"We're able to get Dameon involved more this week, but in the passing game, there were plays that we left out on the football field," Smith said. "You’ve got to be able to pass the ball. In games, you’ve got to eventually come down to being able to pass the ball. In the end it went down by seven. It was going to be a passing game, and we were not able to come through."
Smith acknowledged there were flashes of production from the Texans' passing game in Denver, but it was not consistent. Out of 10 offensive drives, the Texans only put together two possessions where they recorded 50 or more yards — each ended in a field goal attempt.
Second-year quarterback Davis Mills failed to eclipse over 200 passing yards against the Broncos, where he finished the evening with 177 yards while completing 50.0 percent of his pass attempts.
Despite Mills' inadequate performance, Smith held everyone accountable for the Texans' offensive struggles in the passing game.
"The passing game, we didn't get the production we needed to," Smith said. "We had a moment to drop a couple of balls. Protection broke down at times. I am going to give them a lot of credit for that. We'll keep working on those things."
Nico Collins led Houston's receivers with 58 yards on four catches, while Brandin Cooks finished the game with 54 yards on four receptions.
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