The point of emphasis for the Texans is clear after Sunday's 20-20 tie with the Indianapolis Colts. With a 20-3 lead, the Texans had outgained Indianapolis 130-24 in net yards in the third quarter. A 17-0 run by the Colts in the fourth quarter paired with offensive struggles to sustain drives changed the course of a sure win into a near comeback for the Colts.
"I felt like there were moments when we had a rhythm," Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton said. "We were able to move the ball efficiently. We had a few big plays, but we left quite a few big opportunities out there on the field. Just the overall communication and play speed, we hope that that will improve the more our group plays together."
The Week 1 to Week 2 jump is real, according to QB Davis Mills. After their first live action together since the final game of the 2021 season, Mills and Brandin Cooks weren't always on the same page. In his 2022 debut, Cooks still finished with a team-high seven catches for 82 yards receiving. However, Mills knows there were other big plays left on the field.
"We had a third down late in the game where Brandin (Cooks) and I were on a little bit of a different page," Mills said. "Stuff like that will pop up. It's good that it happens early in the season so we're able to talk about it, correct it and make sure we're moving forward in the same direction on the same page and being efficient in that way."
Avoiding pre-snap penalties and stacking positive plays in two-minute situations is a must late in the game, Cooks adds. The Texans hope to spread the ball the around more to their offensive weapons and adjust the run game with rookie Dameon Pierce getting more carries. As a starter, Pierce had just 11 carries for 33 yards, compared with the veteran Rex Burkhead finishing with 14 carries for 40 yards.
"We're going to learn how to finish games the way we prefer to finish them, and that's running the football well," Hamilton said. "There were moments where we felt like we would have a chance to be more efficient running the football and so we're going to clean that up. I've got to do a better job of coming up with ways for us to feature the talents of our backs and give our guys up front the best chance to create double teams and do their job as well."
The (0-0-1) Texans will face the (0-1) Denver Broncos in Week 2. Sunday's kickoff from Empower Field at Mile High is set for 3:25 p.m. CT on CBS and SportsRadio 610.
Browse no fee tickets for Texans-Chargers on October 2 @ 12:00 PM.