David Culley has a two-item checklist for QB Davis Mills: protect the ball and get the Texans offense in the end zone.
The rookie crossed off both things for his head coach in Sunday's 41-29 victory over the Chargers at NRG Stadium.
Houston's offense scored four touchdowns and didn't commit a turnover, and the Texans rolled to a win despite being without several key starters due to COVID-19.
"He's a very mature guy," Culley said. "He is getting much better, and much better, the more he plays. He understands what his job is. He's growing with this time, and I think today he did a great job protecting the ball."
When the final whistle blew, Mills had completed 21-of-27 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns and a QB rating of 130.6. The Texans possessed the ball nine times. Their final drive ended in the victory formation as Mills kneeled out the clock, another ended in a punt, and a third saw Houston miss a field goal, but the other six resulted in points, and WR Chris Conley explained why Mills was so successful on Sunday.
"Davis played exceptionally well today," Conley said. "He's been taking coaching really well. He's continued to work at things, and he's not letting setbacks really deter him or change his mind about how he's going to play."
Conley, who finished with a team-high 60 yards on three receptions, was the recipient of Mills' first scoring pass, a 41-yarder that came with 0:27 remaining in the first half. As beautiful as the pitch-and-catch was, Conley was complimentary of Mills' pre-snap recognition.
"Davis was able to recognize the coverage and put it up," Conley said. "It's not a play that was scripted to go deep, but he took a chance right there and I think that message was seen through today. A lot of guys just trusting each other to go out there and make plays, and it paid off."
Mills, who was without the team's receiving leader Brandin Cooks on Sunday, distributed the ball to seven different pass-catchers. None had more than TE Brevin Jordan and WR Chris Moore's four catches apiece, but four different times Sunday, Mills was able to complete a pass for 23 yards or more.
"The goal every week is to spread it around and really just get the ball in the hands of open playmakers," Mills said. "A lot of guys stepped up this week and were in the right spots or winning their routes. When you can spread the ball around like that on offense, it makes it easier on everybody."
RB Rex Burkhead exploded for 149 rushing yards on 22 carries, and he said Mills made "great throws all day" and was impressed with the young signal-caller's command and execution of the offense.
"I thought Davis did a great job making good decisions and putting the ball where it needed to go," Burkhead said.
It's the first time all season the Texans have won consecutive games.
Mills and the Texans look for their fifth victory of the 2021 season next Sunday on the road against the 49ers.
Watch the Houston Texans take on the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium on January 9. Kickoff is at noon. Click here for tickets.