The Houston Texans players will be back in the building on Tuesday following Sunday's 27-23 loss to the to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 14. Here are three takeaways from Head Coach Lovie Smith's Monday press conference.
1. Standout performances
Despite falling to the Cowboys on the road, the Texans had some big plays from players stepping up on Sunday. Tremon Smith, who came in after Steven Nelson left the game with an injury, picked up his first two career interceptions. With both Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins inactive, Chris Moore finished with an outstanding performance while Amari Rodgers caught his first touchdown pass as a Texan.
"I like what those guys were able to do," Smith said. "We did some good things. We would like to have finished though. That's what we didn't do, had an opportunity late. Defensively, same thing. When Steven Nelson went down, Tremon Smith had an opportunity to play, and he was productive. Des (Desmond) King always plays hard. As I'm talking about a lot of the good things we did throughout the team with all three phases, against a good Dallas football team, but hopefully we can build on it, and eventually get over the hump and finish."
2. Future of dual-QB system
The Texans offense employed both Davis Mills and Jeff Driskel in their offensive game plan against Dallas. Driskel, who was used solely in a wildcat formation in Weeks 1 and 2, completed 4-of-6 passes for 38 yards and threw a touchdown pass. He also rushed for 36 yards on seven carries, averaging 5.1 yards per attempt. Mills was 16-of-21 for 175 yards and one interception, the Hail Mary pass at the end of the game. Could the Texans use two quarterbacks again?
"I thought it was effective yesterday," Smith said. "Two different flavors, and that's always tough for a defense to prepare with what we were doing with them. As far as what we're going to do this week going forward, we start evaluating, see what we need to do against another good division leading Kansas City football team. We'll see how that goes, but both quarterbacks were productive yesterday. Davis Mills, second time in that starting role. I thought he played well, made some good throws. I know you're looking you'll see an interception, but that last one, we can't really put that all on him. Just trying to make a play. We'll need that type of play to have a chance against Kansas City."
The Texans elevated QB Jeff Driskel for the third time this season, maxing out his ability to come up from the practice squad to play.
"We know that he's out of elevations, but we can't let that stop us from getting our best 48 players ready to go this week," Smith said.
3. Growing injury list
The injury list got longer in Sunday's game with some notable names leaving the game early. RB Dameon Pierce suffered an ankle injury early in the fourth quarter and did not return. Pierce finished with 22 carries for 78 yards and touchdown.
"He has an ankle injury that kept him out," Smith said. "He didn't finish the game. That's always concerning when a player didn't finish the game. It will take an awful lot for him not to play, but if it's an injury, of course it can. Hopefully it's short-term. We'll see."
Houston lost both of its starting cornerbacks when Nelson exited the game in addition to Derek Stingley Jr. already inactive. While there were no updates on Monday from Smith, the practice report on Wednesday may reveal more about players' injury and potential playing status.
"I know we have a great medical staff, and hopefully we can get some of the guys back," Smith said. "Some were close (to coming back) last week, Jonathan Greenard, Grayland Arnold. We still kept out a few. Nico Collins didn't play. Brandin Cooks didn't play. Derek Stingley didn't play, so hopefully we can get some of the guys back. I don't know much more right now about the injured players' status right now, but I will find out a little bit later."
The Texans will host the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15. Sunday's kickoff is set for noon CT on CBS and SportsRadio 610.
Tap to browse tickets for the Houston Texans next home game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs here.
Texans fans traveled to Dallas to see the Texans take on the Cowboys. Check out the best photos presented by Ricos.