HOUSTON - Houston Texans' veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor is not expected to be activated from injured reserve this week, according to coach David Culley.
That means rookie quarterback Davis Mills, coming off an impressive three-touchdown performance in a 25-22 loss to the New England Patriots, will start Sunday's road game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.
"I don't think so," Culley said Monday morning when asked if Taylor would be activated this week. "Not sure yet."
Taylor has made steady progress since suffering a Grade 2 hamstring strain while running for a touchdown against the Cleveland Browns Sept. 19. But he has yet to be designated for return from injured reserve.
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Taylor was playing at an extremely high level before getting injured while being chased and jostled by Browns' star defensive end Myles Garrett. A former Pro Bowl selection, Taylor had completed 10 of 11 passes for 125 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions for a 144.3 passer rating that game. He has completed 70.5 percent of his throws for 416 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions for a career-high 122.9 passer rating.
Without Taylor, the 1-4 Texans are on a three-game losing streak with Mills going 0-3 as the starter.
Mills, though, gave the Texans significant reason to feel encouraged by how he played against the Patriots. He displayed accuracy, mobility and an ability to throw on the run, completing 21 of 29 passes for a career-high three touchdown passes and zero interceptions for a 141.7 passer rating.
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"Once he got comfortable, he got really comfortable," Culley said. "He executed our offense perfectly."
Mills had a respectable performance against the Carolina Panthers with one touchdown and no interceptions, but struggled mightily during a 40-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills as he was intercepted four times overall with two interceptions and one completion for three yards and a 0.0 passer rating in the first half. The third-round draft pick from Stanford finished 11 for 21 for 87 yards and a 23.4 passer rating during the most lopsided defeat in franchise history.
Mills joined Texans Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson - who remains on the roster while issuing a standing trade request and dealing with legal problems - as the only quarterbacks in the past six seasons to throw for more than 200 yards and two touchdowns in the first half against the Patriots. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is the only other rookie quarterback in NFL history to have three touchdown passes against Patriots' defensive guru Bill Belichick.
Mills completed 72.4 percent of his throws and was especially sharp on third and fourth downs as he completed 12 of 13 passes for 209 yards and two scores.
He had zero turnovers and a better statistical game than his friend, Patriots rookie quarterback Mac Jones. The Patriots' quarterback got the win and completed 23 of 30 passes for 231 yards, one touchdown and one interception for a 95.3 passer rating.
Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly was asked last week who will start at quarterback when Taylor is back.
"Whatever is going to be best for our team, whatever is going to put us in the best position to win," Kelly said. "It's been pretty evident as an organization that's what we're trying to do here. We're not going to treat that decision any differently."
When asked if the team hopes that will be a difficult decision because of Mills' performance, Kelly replied: "If that's the case, that means he's playing well and making our job tough as far as making that decision. Ideally, it's a tough conversation whenever the time comes."