When the 2022 Houston Texans season began back when the team was in training camp and playing preseason games, did any of us expect them to be a playoff team this season? Thus far in ’22, the Texans have played better than last year on defense, but the offense has regressed, except for the rushing game.
This year the Texans are a team that has improved with their defense compared to a year ago, with players that have bright futures ahead of them, and it is a unit that’s just scratched the surface of what they are capable of achieving.
Though the defense of the Texans isn’t perfect and needs work, the offense in Houston needs more work, and that starts with the play of second year quarterback Davis Mills. The entire issues of the offense aren’t because of Mills, but his play week to week isn’t improving, and it does affect how this team plays.
Mills’ numbers for each of the first five games have seen him not have a single game of 250 yards passing, with his most recent game being 140 yards passing on a 16-of-24 effort with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. To top it off, that’s the lone game that Houston has won with that performance being the Week 5 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In two games this season, Mills has thrown two interceptions, but in his defense, the Texans starting quarterback has been under some tough pressure as he’s been sacked at least once in every game this season. In three of the five games played, Mills has been sacked at least three times, with one of those games being sacked four times in a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 4.
Mills hasn’t been the worst quarterback in the NFL this season, but for Houston to be a more competitive team, he’s going to need to be better when throwing the football.
Texans do have some positives in 2022
There have been some positives for the Texans, and though the pass blocking of the Houston offensive line hasn’t been the best, their run blocking is solid and improved over the past year. One of the main reasons for that improvement has been the emergence of who they are blocking for, and that’s rookie Dameon Pierce.
Pierce is one of the most exciting players on the Houston roster, and eventually will be a household name for all football fans because of the way he plays the game of football. Pierce in five games has 412 yards on 86 rushes and is only going to improve. Once he and the rest of the Houston offense all get on the same page that’s when we’ll see the improvement in the win column too.
The defense of the Texans has been fun to see develop into an improved unit, with rookies Derek Stingley Jr. and Jalen Pitre starting to showcase thier abilities each week. Once this rookie duo gets more games under their belts, that’s when things will get real intense for this defense.
Houston’s leader in tackles through five games is Jonathan Owens with 46 total tackles (31 solo), while Jerry Hughes leads the Texans in sacks with 4.5 in five games played.
One of the issues for the Texans in ’22 as we go back to the offense is the number of first downs achieved. Houston has just 83 in the first five games, meaning they are putting the defense on the field way too much early in the season, and eventually that’s going to haunt them as the season progresses.
The Texans have only converted 19-of-65 opportunities on third down, and they are 2-for-6 on fourth down, so there is another reason for the shortage of success for first down conversions and keeping the defense on the field longer than they need to be.
As we look at the special teams, a positive is kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn, who is 10-of-11 on field goal attempts, and punter Cameron Johnston is averaging 49.1 yards per punt with 14 of his punts landing inside the 20-yard line.
This team is far from being a complete and polished product that will compete for being the top team in the AFC, but with two huge drafts ahead of them in the next two years, and with players from this past draft already making their mark, the future of this team could be bright depending on the decisions made within the drafts.
The Texans are a team that needs a lot of patience, and if general manager Nick Caserio can have the success in the draft, and players keep developing, then there will be more good times than bad in future seasons. As for the rest of the ’22 season, get ready for a wild roller coaster ride with hopefully some thrills along the way.