HOUSTON - Consistency is key for anyone who plays quarterback. Surprisingly, rookie Davis Mills - in a sense - might be the definition of "consistent'' for the Houston Texans.
When playing at NRG Stadium, Mills has been fine as a starter. He's 0-2, but he's thrown for nearly 500 yards and four touchdowns without committing a turnover.
When playing on the road, Mills is a mess. All seven of his interceptions have come away from home. Meanwhile, Houston hasn't found the end zone as a visiting team since the fourth quarter of Week 2.
Again, pretty consistent.
For as much upside Mills continues to show when throwing in front of the home crowd, it's those same inconsistencies on the road that have fans wondering if he can be the future of the organization. For now? Veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor is still on the injured reserve with a hamstring injury, but workinh his way back.
How much longer will it be before Texans coach David Culley activates Taylor? At that point, will the vet get the job back?
Culley told reporters last Monday that Taylor's the starter when healthy. Of course, another quality outing from Mills could have changed that game plan, especially as Houston is still looking for its long-term answer to replace Deshaun Watson.
Mills went 29 of 43 for 243 yards and two interceptions in a 31-3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. He didn’t throw a touchdown pass and was sacked twice. His passer rating was 62.5, but his QBR was 22.1.
One interception went right into the hands of linebacker Darius Leonard. The second was an under-thrown ball to wide receiver Brandin Cooks, allowing cornerback Isaiah Rodgers to grab an easy pick.
Look at what Mills is working with, though. Is that enough to give him a pass? Both starting offensive tackles are out. So was his starting center. And yet, it's not as if Mills didn't have his moments of competence.
Take the first half, for example. Mills was quite accurate in finding seven different receivers. He was 17 of 23 passing for 139 yards and only trailed 10-3 going into halftime.
The Leonard interception, though, was the start of five horrendous drives. A punt, a turnover on downs, a fumble from running back David Johnson, and a second interception all ensued, thus giving Houston its fourth consecutive loss.
“The first half he played well, just like he played the last game (New England),” Culley said. “In the second half, the turnover basically flipped the whole game around.
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"That interception was a big momentum change, and we can't do that.”
Mills is a rookie trying to navigate from 11 career college starts to leading a franchise with little direction. His defense gave him little to no help after allowing Carson Wentz to throw for 223 and touchdowns. Of those 223, five plays accumulated 151 yards, including two throws over 50 to Parris Campbell and T.Y. Hilton.
Two touchdowns from Wentz isn't a terrible day. However, two of the turnovers from Houston led to touchdowns on the next drive for Indianapolis.
Now, the Texans have to decide what happens next? Do they continue to let Mills play, or will Taylor be elevated to the active roster?
Things only get tougher for Houston over the next two weeks. First comes another road trip to face the undefeated Arizona Cardinals. Next are the L.A. Rams, arguably one of the NFC's best teams, at home.
The Miami Dolphins are better than their 1-5 record says, meaning Houston very well could be 1-8 at its bye week.
Seeing how Mills handles adversity could dictate his foreseeable status.
“He has an unwavering attitude,” Cooks said. “When bad things happen, his ability to flush it and go on to the next play is impressive for a young guy."
Culley likely would give the ball back to Taylor if he had full say. But does he? Texans general manager Nick Caserio will likely have a voice in the decision. After all, this was his first pick as the head of Houston's front office.
Wouldn't he hope Mills would hit just to say he nailed the pick?
Consistent play from a quarterback will always decide the future. Even if resources are scarce, that will never be an excuse.
Mills consistently gives the Texans reasons to let him another week to work out the kinks. He also is consistently proving there's much work to be done.
The clock now is ticking on his time as a starter. Maybe the decision has already been made.