The 2021 campaign came to an end with the Texans trying to put the brakes on a Tennessee drive but ultimately running out of time and falling to 4-13.
The finale was certainly a tale of two halves with the Texans fighting their way through a scoreless first quarter before the Titans revved their engines for three big touchdown drives and a 21-0 halftime advantage.
Apparently intermission was just what the Texans needed as the defense forced three three-and-outs to start the second half. Along the way, the offense caught fire with Davis Mills connecting with an array of receivers and finding Chris Moore for the first of three TD passes, off a flea-flicker.
A Ka'imi Fairbairn field goal got Houston within 11 before Mills would hit Danny Amendola in the fourth quarter for an improvised TD in the back of the end zone, followed by a two-point conversion pass to the veteran.
Tennessee was able to answer with a touchdown drive helped by Ryan Tannehill miraculously escaping from a would-be Jacob Martin sack to find Nick Westbrook-Ikhine for a 36-yard gain. Moments later Tannehill would throw to Julio Jones in the back of the end zone for his fourth touchdown pass of the day.
There was no quit in the Texans. Mills took them down the field for a 75-yard march that ended with a 26-yard TD pass to Amendola to pull Houston within three again. Unfortunately, Tennessee ran out the clock from there.
The second half fireworks showed the growth in Mills and gave us a nice snapshot of the rookie's improvement throughout the year. One more possession might have given the Texans the win. But at least they have a good idea of what Mills can do heading into the offseason.
Mills has four 300-yard games this season and is the Texans all-time leading rookie QB passer. More importantly, he got better as the season moved along.
We now enter the offseason with a lot of questions but a lot of options. The Texans will have at least one first and second round pick for the first time in three years (quite possibly more via a trade).
There's cap space and plenty of players on this roster and potential free agents on others to evaluate and sign to make the team better.
The record was not pretty but there was plenty of fight in this team. In nine of the 13 losses, the Texans were down a touchdown or less in the second half. The other four losses were blowouts but even in three of those, the team was within striking distance in the third quarter.
The season is over and it's time to turn the page into what should be an exciting and intriguing next few months as Nick Caserio and his crew look to take a quantum leap in 2022.
Check out the best photos from the Houston Texans Week 18 matchup with the Tennessee Titans.