A day after the loss to Cleveland, Lovie Smith wished the Texans would've given the ball more to Dameon Pierce.
The rookie running back gained 73 yards on 18 carries, and also caught three passes for 22 more yards. In the process, he eclipsed 1,000 scrimmage yards on the season, becoming just the third Texans rookie (Domanick Davis/Williams, 2003 and Steve Slaton 2008) to do so.
But at the half, he'd already gained 57 of his yards on 11 carries and caught a pair of passes for 15 yards.
After such a promising start, Smith lamented that Pierce touched the ball just eight times after the intermission.
"Our offense starts with Dameon Pierce," Smith said. "We have to look at how many carries, number one. I don't think he was really shutdown yesterday. We probably shut him down more than anything."
Part of that shutdown came from a trio of second half turnovers by the Texans. The Browns scored on two of those miscues.
"Turnovers, man," Pierce said. "Self-inflicted wounds. That takes the momentum out of the game, and the confidence out of the offense."
But as he's done all season long, Pierce attributed his first half success Sunday largely due to his offensive line.
"We had a lot of gaps to run through," Pierce said. "O-Line of course, doing their end. Holding up things up front makes everything solid across the board. I'm proud of those boys up front."
Quarterback Kyle Allen said Pierce's performance was "great", and also pointed to the rookie's improvement as a pass-catcher.
"He's getting better on the check-downs and finding those spots and catching the ball and running," Allen said. "He is reliable. He is going to bring it every week."
So far this season, Pierce has picked up 861 rushing yards and another 165 receiving yards.
He and the Texans will face the Cowboys in Arlington this Sunday at noon.