Sean Pendergast

Reliving the Upset: Five Phenomenal Davis Mills Throws From Sunday

Davis Mills made several big time throws on Sunday, many of them explosive plays for over 20 yards a pop.
Davis Mills made several big time throws on Sunday, many of them explosive plays for over 20 yards a pop. Photo by Jack Gorman
Considering the team I root for is 4-11, it's probably somewhat irrational that I'm still kind of buzzing from the Houston Texans' upset 41-29 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, since empirically all the win does is REDUCE the Texans' chance at the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. However, draft picks are like lotto scratch offs, and winning is fun, so sue me! I had fun watching that upset on Sunday, and two days later, there are still two things at which I marvel.

The first is that David Culley — DAVID CULLEY! — was able to guide a two-touchdown underdog to a win with THIS type of seismic roster churn on game day:
The second is, well, HOLY CRAP the Texans may have possibly found a competent quarterback in the third round of the draft! At the very least, Davis Mills has put himself in pole position to be the starting quarterback for this team in Week 1 of 2022, while they still try to figure out the long term solution, which by the way, may end up actually being DAVIS FREAKING MILLS.

Keep in mind, this was a rookie quarterback who would routinely throw four or five interceptions each PRACTICE during 11 on 11 drills in training camp. This was a quarterback who was the steward of an offense that lost games by scores of 24-9, 40-0, 31-3, 31-5, and 38-22 in five of his first six starts. Now, he has all of a sudden figured some things out, and looks every bit as promising as any of his fellow rookie starting quarterbacks, all of whom were taken in the top 15 picks of the draft. Mills was selected 67th overall.

So one more time, just for fun, let's relive the five best throws from Mills' upset win over Justin Herbert and the Chargers on Sunday, shall we?

THROW NUMBER 1: Mills 36 yd pass to Dorsett
SITUATION: 1st-10 at HOU 9, 2:26 left in Q2, Texans trail 12-10

COMMENT: Phillip Dorsett has been a nice pick up off the street these last couple games. First there was the 33 yard catch on a deep ball from Mills in the win over the Jags last weekend, and yesterday it was this catch getting the Texans out from underneath their own goal posts following Jonathan Owens interception. Dorsett's catch would led to this a few plays later....

THROW NUMBER 2: Mills TD ot Conley
SITUATION: 1st-10 at LAC 41, 0:27 left in Q2, Texans trail 12-10

COMMENT: Conley has pointed out that his role on the Texans, especially with the heavy workload Brandin Cooks gets, has been in more of a blocking and leadership role than a prime target in the passing game, but with Cooks on the COVID list, it was good to see Conley provide a deep option for Mills. This throw was damn near perfect by Mills. What a sight for Texan fans! A late first half drive with two explosive plays downfield, NEITHER of them involving Cooks!

THROW NUMBER 3: Mills 27 yd pass to Jordan
SITUATION: 3rd-6 at LAC 47, 2:09 left in Q3, Texans lead 17-15

COMMENT: It's great seeing Jordan get on the field, after going the first half of the season inactive each week. Yesterday was the first real signs of the "run after catch" capability that was his calling card collegiately at Miami. This was one of three straight third down conversion catches for Jordan in the second half of Sunday's game.

THROW NUMBER 4: Mills 23 yd pass to Moore (crazy catch)
SITUATION: 1st-10 at LAC 34, 11:08 left in Q4, Texans lead 24-15

COMMENT: Following ANOTHER third down conversion by Jordan, Chris Moore gets in on the act with a circus catch of this missile from Mills. This catch would set up the field goal that would give the Texans a 27-15 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

THROW NUMBER 5: Mills 13 yd TD to Collins
SITUATION: 1st-10 at LAC 13, 2:32 left in Q4, Texans lead 27-23

COMMENT: It's been a long time coming, but after several targets in the end zone throughout the season, Collins finally got his first career TD, hopefully the first of many! One of the big themes for Davis Mills on Sunday was the connection with his fellow rookies. When Mills was throwing to Jordan (4 catches, 56 yards) and Collins (3 catches, 33 yards, 1 TD), he was 7 for 8, 79 yards, and a TD, for a passer rating of 147.4. ALL seven catches went for either a first down or a touchdown – and four of those came on 3rd down.

I think Brevin Jordan summed up well the current state of Davis Mills relationship with Texan fans in this tweet:

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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