Ten rookies saw action in a game where the Texans went toe-to-toe with the NFL's only unbeaten team. In the end, Houston fell again, but not without a fight.
On an evening where they were undermanned at receiver, the offense had a great first drive, mixing the pass and run, capped with rookie Teagan Quitoriano catching his first pass for a TD in his first-ever game. Dameon Pierce had four productive carries and Davis Mills threw a 34 yard pass to Phillip Dorsett that got the Texans a first and goal.
Pierce ran for a career best 139 yards as the Texans out-rushed Philadelphia 168-143. They even turned the Eagles over with a Steven Nelson strip sack, recovered by Jaleel Johnson. It was only the third giveaway for Philly all season.
After the Eagles took a 14-7 lead in the first half, the Texans went to work on their second TD drive. Pierce did most of the work, running people over on five of the seven plays including a 34-yard run. Mills hit Chris Moore with a 13-yard TD to tie the game.
A missed field goal preserved the draw at halftime setting up an important defensive series to start the third quarter. Jerry Hughes had two sacks on that possession to serve notice that this was not going to be like the Tennessee game.
The teams traded three-and-outs before the turnover trouble started with Mills throwing a pick that was returned to the 17. Moments later Texans villain A.J. Brown was in the end zone and things were never quite the same.
Houston was able to mount a drive but it stalled as Ka'imi Fairbairn hit a chip shot to cut the lead to four. The Texans would get no closer.
Mills threw another pick with 2:08 to go. Had the Texans gotten a TD, there was an opportunity, with a stop and time outs, to get the ball back and do further damage.
At the end of the night you look up and see a 12 point loss but there's no doubt the young Texans were in this game and had their chances to create the upset.
This kind of effort, while taking better care of the ball, should serve them well as they navigate their way through the rest of the schedule.
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