The Houston Texans’ rushing offense was dominant with their three-headed monsters in the backfield.
Pro Bowlers Mark Ingram, David Johnson and Phillip Lindsay traveled 160 yards on the ground in Houston’s 37-21 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium. Success on the field also led to the passing game explosion as starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor scored 21 of 33 for 291 yards, two touchdowns and a 112.1 passer rating.
In the four games since, Houston’s rushing offense hasn’t even hit the 100-yard mark, and the Texans have been plagued with a four-game losing streak.
Rookie quarterback Davis Mills has some idea of why the running game has been so anemic starting in Week 2.
“It’s a lot of execution,” Mills said. “Part of my side, making sure we’re on the right mic [middle linebacker] points. There have been a few times in the game where I went wrong or didn’t drop someone to support them in the block. It’s partly because of me, and then partly by mixing it up, trying to perform a little better.
Mills replaced the injured Taylor in the last four games. The teams took it upon themselves to stop the race and focus on the rookie to lead the Houston offense. Aside from Week 5 against the New England Patriots when Mills posted a 141.7 passer rating, the strategy worked.
If the Texans can get the running game going again, it will help the rookie win third and fourth downs, which Houston managed to do against New England at 6-14 in third downs and 3-3 in fourth downs.
“I think I stay ahead of the sticks,” said Mills. “A lot of them were third and short, fourth and short, so we had a chance. It’s tough in those third and longer situations where the defense knows you’re going to throw. It’s hard to find completions in these stockings.
Houston will have a chance to start the game against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 6 as the Colts give up 108.4 rushing yards per game, good for the 19th overall in the NFL.