Sean Pendergast

Davis Mills' Six Most Catastrophic Turnovers of 2022

Lining up for turnovers.
Lining up for turnovers. Photo by Eric Sauseda
Coming into the 2022 NFL season, the Houston Texans made no secret about one thing β€” Davis Mills would be the opening week starting quarterback for this franchise. In fact, they didn't just anoint Mills the starter. Lovie Smith practically named him captain of the team in the first week of training camp, and they brought in about as close to ZERO competition for his job as you could get (sorry, Kyle Allen).

For a player picked 67th overall in the previous year's draft, and who'd had a stretch of about five good games in his rookie season, tops, this was a golden opportunity, even on a bad team like the Texans. After all, there are only 32 starting NFL quarterbacks in the world on any given weekend.

Unfortunately, for everyone involved, Mills turned into a pumpkin before our very eyes. Sure, he will probably have a long career in the NFL as a backup or eventual journeyman bridge starter, but he is not (nor will he ever be) a franchise quarterback. Sunday's loss to the Chiefs was a microcosm as to why that is the case.

Mills was 12 of 24 for a mere 121 yards, albeit with a depleted receiving corps, but still, that is a paltry sum, and yet the game FELT like Mills played pretty well, due to the bar being set so low in the first three months of the season. Then there was the big reminder why Mills is what he is  β€” the back breaking turnover, this time a fumble in overtime that set the Chiefs up to win on literally the very next play.

Soul crushing turnovers have been a theme for Mills, and Sunday's was just the latest. If you're a Texans fan with a weak stomach, avert your eyes. Here are the six most catastrophic 2022 turnovers by Davis Mills:

WEEK 1 vs Colts: MILLS FUMBLE strip sack (10:02 left in Q4, Texans up 20-6)
This was the season opener, and the Texans were up by two touchdowns with 10 minutes to go. This turnover isn't totally on Mills, as obviously somebody missed a block, but good quarterbacks feel the rush, and they also hold onto the football. This opened the floodgates for an easy, fast score, and eventually a tie that would set the tone for the entire 2022 season.

WEEK 3 at Bears: MILLS INT to ROQUAN SMITH (1:14 left in Q4, tied 20-20, 3rd-1 at HOU 26)
In another winnable early season game, against what's turned out to be the second worst team in football (ahead of only the Texans), Mills had the ball with a chance to go get a game winning field goal, and he threw a pick to Bears LB Roquan Smith. Moments later, the Texans were 0-2-1.

WEEK 4 vs Chargers: MILLS INT to NASIR ADDERLEY (13:40 left in Q1, first drive of the game)
In what would unfortunately become a somewhat recurring theme β€” it happened again in Week 8 and Week 11 β€” Mills threw a pick on the opening drive. This was the week after the pick to close out the Bears game, so in a morbid way, Mills picked up right where he left off the week before. This would put the Texans in a funk that would see them fall behind 21-0 before finally getting anything on the scoreboard.

WEEK 9 vs Eagles: MILLS INT to CJ GARDNER-JOHNSON (8:23 left in Q3, 14-14 tie with the NFL's best team)
This one was underrated in the pain inflicted. On a Thursday night, Battle Red Day, the Texans were standing in toe to toe with the team with the best record in the NFL. Tied at 14-14 in the third quarter, with the Texans defense standing up the first two series of the second half and forcing Eagle punts, Mills threw a horrific pick, and the Eagles would close out the game on a 15-3 run.

WEEK 11 vs Commanders: MILLS INT PICK SIX to KENDALL FULLER (13:24 left in Q1, first HOU drive of the game)
This was the first drive of the game, and the Commanders had a 7-0 lead before their offense even saw the ball. The Texans would fall behind 20-0 while generating 32 yards of first half offense. The next week, Kyle Allen would be the starting QB for the Texans.

WEEK 15: MILLS FUMBLE open field run (5:34 left in OT, game tied 24-24, 1st-10 at HOU 26)
Then there was Sunday. This mistake by Mills facilitated the winning touchdown by the Chiefs, and sent the NRG Stadium crowd home happy! (NOTE: The NRG Stadium crowd was 80 percent Chiefs fans.)

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast