Nico Collins continues to blossom in the Texans offense.
For the second straight week, the wide receiver led Houston in receiving yards. In Sunday's 13-6 win at Jacksonville, Collins pulled in four passes from quarterback Davis Mills for 65 yards, including an acrobatic 23-yard reception on 3rd-and-2 in the fourth quarter. That catch, in which he also drew a defensive pass interference call, helped prolong the drive that culminated in Dameon Pierce's game-winning touchdown.
"Davis trusted me, and I trusted him," Collins said. "Put the ball in the air, just go get it. Simple. Catch it at the highest point, and that's what I did, and I made a big play for the offense."
Collins has 15 receptions for 272 yards this season, and nearly half (seven) have been for 20 yards or more. In every one of the last four games, Collins has recorded at least one catch of 20 yards or more, and he's had the longest catch in each of the last two games. Last week against the Chargers, Collins came up with a 58-yarder, which remains the Texans longest completion of 2022.
Head Coach Lovie Smith, who pointed to Collins' size, hands and jumping ability as strengths, explained how the Texans are putting an emphasis on throwing the ball to the second-year receiver.
"We've tried to get him more and more involved each week," Smith said. "He's a tough matchup against defensive backs. So we need to continue to do that."
Mills was a rookie with Collins in 2021, and he's seen a lot of growth.
"It's great," Mills said. "We kind of felt that at the end of last year when he was stepping up and making some big-time plays, and really this year, we've really emphasized find a way to get 12 the ball because he's going to make a play for you."
Mills is confident in Collins, and described what an advantage the 6-4 receiver has over defensive backs.
"He's going to go up and win those 50/50 balls," Mills said. "I don't think they're 50/50 balls when you throw it to Nico. That's big for him, and he converted those big-time 3rd downs when we needed him to."
Collins and the Texans are off this week for the bye, and they'll face the Raiders in Las Vegas on October 23.