Dameon Pierce got the ball more this week.
While it ultimately wasn't enough to propel the Texans to their first win of 2022, it was a reason for hope.
The rookie running back carried 15 times for 69 yards in Sunday's 16-9 road loss at Denver. He also caught a pass for eight yards. 16 touches against the Broncos was an uptick over the 12 touches last week in the tie versus Indianapolis.
"It seemed like there was a commitment to the run," Smith said. "I thought Dameon did some good things when he had an opportunity to carry the ball."
The rookie's first carry was a gain of eight yards on the second play from scrimmage. He was stopped for no gain on third down, and the Texans punted. On the ensuing possession, Pierce was dropped for a loss of four yards on 3rd-and-1, but he followed that with consecutive gains of 12, seven, four, seven, five, 11 and 11 yards. Pierce also caught a pass for eight yards in that stretch, which lasted from the middle of the first quarter through the start of the third.
"I thought he put together a really good day," Quarterback Davis Mills said. "It's exciting when the run game gets going. He had some big time runs and he was making it happen. It's something to build on."
Pierce, like the rest of his teammates, was disappointed with the defeat. He echoed the need to finish better with a lead in the fourth quarter.
"That's one thing we want to put emphasis on," Pierce said. "Finishing those drives. Starting fast. Finishing harder, and just overall, making plays when we need them."
Pierce and the Texans will face the Bears in Chicago next Sunday at noon CT.