Head Coach Lovie Smith held his Monday press conference following Sunday's 34-24 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Here are three takeaways from Smith's presser with local media:
1. Disappointing on defense
Smith didn't mince words when it came to discussing the Texans defensive performance on Sunday.
"Defensively, it was our worse game we played on the season, defensively," Smith said. "I don't think we've given up over than 20 points before that game, 23 I guess. Third-down conversions, we didn't take the ball away, explosive plays, it just wasn't a good day for us defensively. You can't win games if you play that type of defense and we don't plan on that happening again."
The Texans gave up 419 net yards of offense (338 passing, 81 rushing) while the Chargers converted 50 percent of their third downs. RB Austin Ekeler proved to be a challenge, finding the end zone three times on the day and QB Justin Herbert was sacked just once.
Smith pointed out critical moments that could have shifted momentum early in the game, a missed interception, a missed TFL on third-and-1 and communication breakdowns. After halftime, the Texans defense forced three consecutive punts but needed a critical stop on fourth-and-2 late in the fourth quarter that put the game out of reach with just over two minutes remaining.
"The one drive when we needed to make a play, we let them convert on fourth down and they were able to score on that one," Smith said. "There are all things of course we can point out and we all kind of know what happened a little bit, but these things can be corrected."
2. Better late than never, offensively
Davis Mills and the offense got things going…eventually. After finding themselves in a 21-0 hole early in the second quarter, the offense finally regained some control when RB Dameon Pierce broke through for a 75-yard touchdown run. Nico Collins also had his best game this season, putting up 82 yards receiving on three catches.
"There are some positive things," Smith said. "We've talked a lot about Dameon Pierce. For him to have that type of game, breakout game, we've been waiting for that. For that to happen our offensive line and everybody responsible for blocking has to do their job. It was good for him to show that last part of his game, breakaway speed. I thought passing game-wise, we had our moments. Of course, we got Brandin Cooks a lot more involved. Nico Collins made plays. To be able to get our tight ends in the game and get them action, it still wasn't enough."
Smith said he liked Mills' ability to score despite the Chargers bringing blitz and the quarterback's poise in the pocket during the fourth-quarter touchdown drive to Cooks to get Houston within a score, down 26-21.
3. Injured Reserve Players could see the field this week
After missing four games, players placed on the Reserve/Injured list before the start of the season could practice as early as this week. Once an IR player practices, teams have a 21-day window to decide whether or not to activate him. Houston currently has seven players on IR, but three to watch this week are DL Mario Addison, LB Christian Harris and DB Tavierre Thomas.
"Most of the guys that we're talking about coming back from the list that contributed to us, and a lot of them are kind of our guys," Smith said. "As soon as we think they're physically ready to go, we're going to try and get them in the mix as soon as possible. Some of the guys haven't played. Christian Harris has never played for us and someone like Tavierre Thomas and Mario Addison, some of them, they're kind of in different phases for us with what they've done for us. We'll take all of that into consideration."
The Texans will travel to Jacksonville in Week 5 to take on the (2-2) Jaguars next Sunday.