Well, that didn't go quite like we wanted, part three. Here are some weird numbers/stats for the Texans first three games of the 2022 season.
- The Texans have been outscored by just ten points total in three games in the 2022 season.
- The Texans haven't trailed heading into the fourth quarter in any of the three games.
- Yet, the Texans don't have a win to show for their efforts.
After another gut punch loss, this time to the Chicago Bears 23-20, the Texans are 0-2-1 on the season. Here are my Harris Hits from a frustrating afternoon spent in Chicago.
I'm going to start with Texans DB Jalen Pitre. It's the only place to start after the performance of the rookie from Baylor. This guy is on a different level three games into his career. He had two interceptions, the first rookie to do it since Dunta Robinson did it in 2004. He had a key sack in the game, just playing his technique that he's been taught to do. I broke down three of those key plays here.
The Texans coaching staff knew exactly what it had with Pitre from the first week in OTAs but he's perhaps even better than that. Pitre will tell you that it's not enough given that the Texans haven't won yet. That said, he's going to be a building block for a long time in this defense.
Three years ago, this very week, TE Jordan Akins had two touchdowns at Los Angeles in a win over the Chargers. On Sunday, Akins caught his first touchdown of the season after returning to Houston at the end of training camp. He finished with three catches for 31 yards and a touchdown, making key catches throughout the day. The TEs have had trouble staying healthy so Akins stepped in from the practice squad to show he's still got it. He seemed to have great synergy with Davis Mills and that's a great place to start going forward.
The run defense has to improve. We've said that for three weeks, but it's going to be a long year if the Texans don't make those improvements at all three levels soon. The Khalil Herbert 52-yard run was an unfortunate, prime example of not working/adjusting/playing together/team defense.
The four-play drive that resulted in Dameon Pierce's first TD in his career is one that should be put up in the Run Game Louvre. Four plays. Four Dameon Pierce runs. Two of those four runs were on a play that the Texans hadn't run, that I can remember, in the first two weeks of the season. But, they ran it in training camp, and I was waiting for the Texans to unleash it. They did and the Bears struggled; I just was hoping that the Texans could've done that for a full 60 minutes. It's coming and there's more there in the run game than 3.8 yards per carry.
It's easy to see why Texans fans love Pierce. He runs so hard with excellent vision. It's just such a joy. He's got to take better care of the football, though, and when he does that, he's going to be one of the foundation pieces for this offense for a long time, just like Pitre on the defensive side of the ball.
There were a couple of wrinkles in the Texans' passing game that took advantage of the run game. QB Davis Mills threw a dart to Nico Collins on the slant route off of a different kind of play action than the Texans had shown to date. It was one of his best throws on the day that resulted in a big play from Nico across the middle.
Man, I'm just going to say it - I was hoping that Bears star LB Roquan Smith wasn't going to play. Now, you know why, if you didn't already. He was everywhere and, of course, he made the key play at the end with the interception. But, man, he's truly one of the best in the league at LB. Stud.
The Texans gave up some yards to Matt Ryan in the opener, but they had him flustered through the first three and a half quarters. They really, REALLY had Russell Wilson frustrated and flustered in the loss at Denver. On Sunday, they beat the you-know-what out of Bears QB Justin Fields on Sunday. They finished with five sacks of Fields and there were multiple times that Fields got up hurting or, in some cases, barely got up. I'm going to give him credit; that's a tough, TOUGH dude. But, the Texans had him on the ropes with their pass rush and coverage. But, they couldn't quite deliver the closing blow to get the win.
The Texans ended up inside the Bears seven-yard line four times. They scored two touchdowns and kicked one field goal, but it's the one in which they came up with zero points that was super costly. I was standing in the end zone and had a great view, standing right in line with Mills' throw to Brandin Cooks. I could see the Kindle Vildor/Brandin Cooks duo moving right into view and I got a bad feeling. Mills whipped one through a mosh pit of Bears and Texans on the way to Cooks and I'm not sure how it got through to Cooks in the first place. Then, football tragedy. Vildor's lack of good hands made that an interception because he tried to catch the ball with his body. So, as he dove, he projected his body into the ball, instead of the ball hitting his hands and falling to the ground. The ball then hit off Vildor's shoulder pad and went right into the waiting arms of Jackson. Major turning point in this game. It was the one trip inside the Bears ten-yard line that didn't result in points…and it was a killer.
Alright, that was a tough one, but brighter days are ahead, and hopefully full brightness is on track for Sunday against the Chargers. See you then, everyone!