Talk about bouncing back ...
After a disappointing performance against the Buffalo Bills in Week 4, Houston Texans quarterback Davis Mills set records against the New England Patriots just seven days later.
During Houston's 25-22 loss on Sunday, the third-round rookie went 21 of 29 for 312 passing yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions and to cap it all off rushed for an extra two yards. Mills finished the last-minute loss with a QB rating of 141.7 - good for second-highest in the NFL in Week 5 behind only a certain Tom Brady.
Fun side note: Mills was only two years old when Brady was drafted back in 2000.
Anyway, back to Mills.
After this solid performance against the Patriots which included a 67-yard touchdown pass to Chris Moore, Mills became the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to finish a game with over 300 passing yards, three or more passing touchdowns, and a QB rating of over 140.
Not only this, but Mills was also just the second QB since the turn of the century to post a perfect passer rating on third and fourth down on a minimum of 10 attempts. As if this weren't enough recognition, Mills also recorded the 12th-highest single-game QB rating by a rookie QB since the NFL-AFL merger back in 1970.
Considering that this comes off the back of a game in Buffalo when he posted a QB rating of just 23.4, where he passed for 87-yards and four interceptions in total, and this was a bounce-back game for the ages.
Was it a perfect performance? No. And Mills himself will tell you that.
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"I thought I played well, but I mean, I had a couple of plays I could have managed the protection a little better at the end when I took a sack when we really needed to put a drive together. Still room for improvement," Mills said.
It would be easy to chalk these records and numbers of as inconsequential given that not only did Houston lose, but after Mills' third-quarter touchdown pass to Chris Conley, the error-prone Texans only had 69 yards of offense on the subsequent five drives.
However, we will argue that Mills isn't to blame for this.
The lack of productivity from the runners, combined with a costly holding penalty, pressure from New England's front seven, and a general shift in momentum after Cam Johnson's blocked punt, all played against Mills and the Texans offense.
Ultimately, being a rookie it's simply about showing a week-to-week improvement, and as Mills himself said: "Big thing is just learning from mistakes and not making the same mistake twice."
Not only has he shown he can do this, but along the way, as Tyrod Taylor spends another week on IR, he's clearly impressing his teammates.
"That guy’s a tough guy, man," tight end Antony Auclair said. "That loss in Buffalo was a tough loss. He always stayed calm, and I think you don’t see that from a regular guy. Coming off that bad loss and then coming out firing in that first quarter. I think he played great. If you look around in the NFL with all those first-rounder quarterbacks that are starting right now, they don’t have that many wins. I think Davis (Mills) is doing a great job right now for us, and he’s only getting better.''
The biggest takeaway from this week wasn't the loss or even the records, it's that Davis Mills is able to bounce back, learn from his mistakes, and effectively take control of an NFL offense.
Perhaps Houston won't need to draft a QB next year after all ...