The Houston Texans lost 23-20 to the Chicago Bears in Lovie Smith's return to Soldier Field. Watching a 30-yard field goal sail through the uprights as time expired, the Texans have been outscored 30-0 in the fourth quarter through three close games and still searching for their first win.
"We can't finish, you know, just kind of getting to the core of it right away," Head Coach Lovie Smith said after the game. "Defensively, whenever you give up that many yards rushing on the quarterback, you got to be able to control him a lot better than that. But lay it to some of them. We haven't given up a whole lot of big explosive plays until today, but those runs really did hurt."
Chicago gashed the Texans run defense, which allowed 281 yards rushing. Bears leading rusher David Montgomery left the game early with a leg injury and did not return after just three carries for 11 yards. Instead, backup Khalil Herbert rushed for 157 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. Bears QB Justin Fields completed 8-of-17 passes for 106 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions but still rushed for 47 yards on eight carries.
For the Texans defense, rookie Jalen Pitre was a bright spot in the loss after a career performance that included his first two NFL interceptions and his first career sack, as well as eight tackles (five solo), one quarterback hit two tackles for loss two passes defensed and a fumble recovery.
"I'm definitely not satisfied, I want to win," Pitre said. "Definitely not satisfied, looking to improve next week."
Davis Mills was 20-of-32 for 245 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, his first two of the season. Rookie RB Dameon Pierce had a career-high 20 carries for 80 yards and his first NFL touchdown. WR Chris Moore led the receivers with three catches for 63 yards receiving, most of which came on a 52-yard reception on Houston's first touchdown drive.
"I don't think at this point we're a team where we can come back from a lot of mistakes if we make them," Mills said. "We just got to execute at a high level from the start. Start fast and finish."
The Bears took 10-0 lead with backup RB Khalil Herbert scoring on an 11-yard rushing touchdown, his first of two scores on the day.
The Texans offense went on a 14-0 scoring run. Davis Mills threw a four-yard touchdown pass to TE Jordan Akins, in his first game back as a Texan. Houston trailed 10-7 with 3:40 left in the first quarter.
Pierce scored his first NFL touchdown on a four-play, 41-yard scoring drive in the second quarter. The rookie running back got four straight carries on the series, including the one-yard touchdown run. Texans took 14-10 lead.
The Bears wouldn't score again until a 50-yard field goal with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. Houston held onto a 14-13 lead.
The Texans settled for two field goals in the third quarter with Ka'imi Fairbairn nailing kicks from 39 and 23 yards. Herbert scored a second touchdown on a one-yard run. The Texans and Bears were tied 20-20 heading into the fourth quarter.
Houston's offense stalled on three drives in the fourth quarter, converting just one first down. The Texans' final possession ended when LB Roquan Smith intercepted Davis Mills' pass, intended for RB Rex Burkhead, on third-and-1. Chicago's kicker Cairos Santos kicked a 30-yard field goal as time expired to give the Bears a 23-20 victory.
"That last drive that we were all confident that we were going to move the ball down the field and go down either kick a field goal to win it or score a touchdown," Mills said. "That defender made a good play at the line of scrimmage to tip it and they got the turnover. So it's a tough one today."
The Texans fall to 0-2-1.