Davis Mills makes regular season debut in relief of Tyrod Taylor

Davis Mills was the 'next man up' for the Texans on Sunday in Cleveland.

Even though he's a rookie, and even though starting QB Tyrod Taylor played a near-flawless first half against the Browns, Mills still had the confidence and respect of his teammates when he entered at quarterback in the third quarter after Taylor's hamstring injury.

Houston dropped the first game of the season, 31-21, to the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mills completed 8-of-18 passes for 102 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.

"I thought he did very well when he got in the game," Texans Head Coach David Culley said. "Obviously he got us a touchdown there. He had very few reps at all with our first group. And I expected him to do well. He had the pick early, but he came back, did what Davis normally does and just goes to the next play and goes from there."

Mills handed the ball off to Mark Ingram II on his first two snaps and then threw incomplete to Brandin Cooks on 3rd-and-6 from Houston's 29-yard line. He was picked off on the next series, but he righted the proverbial ship on his third possession. On that drive, the Texans went 75 yards on 16 plays and chewed 8:08 off the game clock. Mills' 2-yard touchdown pass to Cooks pulled the Texans to within three points of Cleveland.

"I would've like to have started a little faster, but that comes with some experience," Mills said. "Moving forward, I'm looking forward to what's next."

Mills, who wears the jersey number 10, did a good job leading in the huddle in the opinion of C Justin Britt.

"10 came in, commanded the game well," Britt said. "We gave him (our) full faith. 10 put us in the right position to win and give us a chance. If we need him this next week, he'll be ready."

Mills said he'll prepare to be the starter whether Taylor can play Thursday against Carolina or not.

"Today was a good lesson for him," Culley said. "A good experience for him to get, especially in this kind of ballgame. Because if we'd have made some plays there at the end, we'd have been in a position to win the football game. Part of that was because of him."

Mills said the game plan didn't change in the quarterback switch from Taylor to himself. He and the Texans will have meetings and a walkthrough on Monday at NRG Stadium, and then a practice and meetings on Tuesday.

The Texans will host the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football. Kickoff is set for 7:20 p.m. CT on NBC, NFL Network and SportsRadio 610. Click here for tickets.

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