11 observations from the Texans' 41-29 win over the Chargers

The Texans recorded their second straight win on Sunday. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans surprised the football world with a victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. Here are 11 observations from Houston’s fourth win of the season.

1. The Texans had a number of players out due to Covid. This checks in as one of the more surprising results of the NFL season and one of the better wins when putting the game into context.

2. The victory all but cements David Culley’s return to the team after speculation on his job status popped up this week.

3. Davis Mills played yet another good game. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the team forgo a chance at a first-round quarterback in the draft to give Mills the opportunity to start for the team next year. He looks totally comfortable as a starting quarterback in the NFL.

4. Mills has now played three games as the starter since he replaced Tyrod Taylor. In this stretch Mills has passed for 794 yards, completed 67 percent of his passes, and thrown just one interception against five touchdowns.

5. The best throw of the day from Mills was likely the score before halftime. The rookie quarterback dropped a ball right into Chris Conley’s hands for a 41-yard score. It was one of the best throws of the season by Mills.

6. Penalties played a big part in the game today. The above-mentioned drive was kept alive by a Chargers penalty. The Texans had some yellow flags on the field of their own. It was a sloppy game from the Texans, but they still had enough to get the win.

7. Rex Burkhead had a career day behind a makeshift offensive line. He scampered for a 25-yard touchdown after a penalty had taken a score off the board. Burkhead constantly fought for extra yards on the ground. He finally surpassed Mark Ingram as the team’s leading rusher.

8. The wideouts, and Brevin Jordan at tight end, had a very good day. Nico Collins scored his first touchdown. Chris Moore and Philip Dorsett had some nice catches as well. Some important reps for the offense with Brandin Cooks out.

9. The defense had a very good day against Justin Herbert and the Chargers. Tavierre Thomas had a pick-six late in the game. Jonathan Owens had a fumble recovery and an interception. The makeshift defensive line played well as did the fill-in linebackers. Lovie Smith’s defense again performed much better than their overall talent level.

10. Andre Johnson was in attendance and took the game in from the owner’s box with Cal McNair and Janice McNair. The former Texans wideout was critical of the organization in January of this year and advocated for Deshaun Watson to stand behind his trade request. Johnson was also critical of Jack Easterby’s role in the organization. It would seem nobody has hard feelings from the January tweet.

11. The Texans have matched their win total from last year with a less-talented roster. It is impressive the organization earned the fourth win in the manner it did as well. There’s still a long way to go towards relevancy in the NFL landscape but there are bright spots with this team. The win plus the other results in the NFL this week left the Texans unchanged in the draft order as they still have the third overall pick.

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The Houston Texans seem to be focused on repairing their image. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

"It's a new day, yes it is!" That's how the theme song from one of my all time favorite wrestling tag teams/groups starts. One of my favorite lines says "Can't change the past/Gotta let it unfold." If this doesn't apply to the 2022 Houston Texans, I don't know what does.

Over the last few years, the Texans have been a laughingstock. From a comedy of errors under Bill O'Brien, to Cal McNair's reputation as Tommy Boy, Jack Easterby was once thought to be some sort of Boogeyman, to the fans finally having had enough and fighting back with their wallets. Things haven't been smooth sailing on Kirby Drive. It started to look like a never-ending rainy day for a while. Then it happened. Nick Caserio came in riding his white horse and the weather started clearing up.

Initially, some were still skeptical, yours truly included. We had every right to feel that way. He was yet another in a line from New England. "Patriots South" was beginning to look like a real thing, even though Cal denied it. Before he could get settled, his franchise quarterback wanted out and was also found out to be an alleged pervert. That's when Caserio started to push all the right buttons.

Some people thrive under pressure. Some crumble worse than a dry ass Popeye's biscuit. Caserio is one of the ones that has managed to make coals into diamonds. Armed with a bad cap situation, devoid of draft picks in his first draft, a talented QB who wants out, and an owner trying his best to do the right things, he navigated it all masterfully so far. He traded Watson for a nice haul and used those picks in this past draft to address some concerns. Knowing the QB talent was better in the upcoming draft, he's giving Davis Mills an opportunity to show what he's got. Their collective appearance on The Pat McAfee Show recently was to show the national media something we here in Houston see every day: there are new faces of this franchise, and it's headed in the right direction.

While Mills still has to prove he can be the franchise QB, Caserio has done a good job of putting talent around him to place him in a position to succeed. If Mills is a hit, the team can use the draft capital to improve other areas of the team, and Caserio has another feather in his cap. If Mill isn't "the guy", the team will draft one of the top prospects and move on. Third round QBs that don't work out aren't seen as failures per se because expectations aren't as high. However, I believe Mills' floor is a career backup and he still holds value even if he isn't seen as a starter. Besides, who wouldn't want a guy who went to Stanford in the QB room?

Easterby has faded into the background after being thrust into the spotlight. He seems to have been thrown in the ring with a grizzly bear and come out unscathed. Lots of us were wrong about him. I now believe he was forced into a situation he wasn't prepared for, made the best he could out of it, and is now settling back into the role he originally sought out, which is the owner's right-hand man and a team/player development type of guy.

The person who deserves just as much, if not more, credit than Caserio is Cal. He went from Tommy Boy to Boss Hog in the matter of a year or so. The story of him playing video games sitting on the floor of his office fed into the perception of him being a doofus. Now, he's literally kissing babies, handing out shorts, and grilling for the fans. He's been seen at the forefront of food/water drives, as well as being very visible and accessible to fans at training camp.

These are the new faces of this franchise moving forward. Look for newer players to take some of their places when their play starts to equal wins for this team. "Get us back on the right road/On the right track/On the right flow (That’s right)/Live in the future that we all know."

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