During the third quarter against the Raiders, WR Phillip Dorsett looked up at the 27,600-square foot video board inside Allegiant Stadium. The Texans wide receiver was running a go-route, not part of QB Davis Mills' reads on the play when that suddenly changed.
"I literally was looking at the jumbotron and I'd seen him spin out," Dorsett said. "So I'm like, 'Oh, snap.' He spun my way and so I just tried to make a second route and we were on the same page, and he dished it to me."
Those type of plays are his favorite, Dorsett adds. Seeing Mills scramble meant Dorsett could improvise to get open and he did. Mills found Dorsett on a deep pass for a 20-yard gain inside the red zone. On the next series, Dorsett and Mills would connect again, this time for a 25-yard touchdown.
"Big thing is speed and just consistency," Mills said. "Obviously, he's a veteran in the league. He's going to be in the right spot at the right time, knows defenses well, knows what he needs to do versus different looks so for him to end up in the same spot based on the concept, so we can trust him in doing that and he's going to have the speed to get there."
Scoring felt good for Dorsett, who had not found the end zone since Week 11 of the 2019 season during his tenure with the New England Patriots. Since then, the 2015 first-round draft selection (who had only played for Indianapolis and New England for the first five seasons), dealt with injuries and bounced around the league. He spent the 2020 season in Seattle before a tumultuous 2021 campaign that led him to Jacksonville then back to the Seahawks, before the Texans signed him their practice squad for the final five games.
"It's been tough," Dorsett said. "Honestly, when it comes to – I'm not going to say football is my life, but it's a big part of my life. I love football so much. I've been playing since I was six years old. To miss a full year and basically missing another full year being injured, bouncing around a little bit. It takes a toll on anybody because at the end of the day, it's not just plug and play when it comes to football. Being in three different cities, I've got a wife who was pregnant at the time. You've just got to find your way. For me, my mentality is that I keep working hard. Don't let anything phase you. Just keep working, and I'm still here."
Now in his second year with Mills, Dorsett seems to have found his way in Houston. When Nico Collins left Sunday's game, Dorsett initially thought he needed a breather. Turned out, Collins suffered a groin injury that would keep him out for the remainder of the game.
"I stayed in and he said it was his groin," Dorsett said. "He was like, 'my bad.' I was like, 'you don't have to say my bad, it's all good.' Next man up mentality. It's been part of my career my whole life. You've got to be ready. You've got to be ready to play X, Z and F, and I'm always ready."
Collins did not practice Wednesday and if he can't go on Sunday, Dorsett will have to be that next man up on the Texans offense. While his skillset is different from that of the big-bodied, 6-4, 215-pound Collins, Dorsett (5-10, 192) brings his own style of play and has earned more playing time each week.
"Yes, I see his role changing based a little bit on first based on how much Nico can play, but beyond that, he made some big plays in our last game," Head Coach Lovie Smith said Wednesday. "That warrants more time, more targets. And Phillip, great speed, fluid athlete, can do a lot for us. It was good to see him make a few plays like that. He's definitely capable of that and we need it."
The Texans will host the Tennessee Titans in Week 8. Kickoff from NRG Stadium is set for 3:05 p.m. CT on CBS and SportsRadio 610.