Sean Pendergast

NFL Week 11: Commanders 23, Texans 10 — Four Winners, Four Losers

The Texans continued to flounder their way through the 2022 season in a loss to Washington.
The Texans continued to flounder their way through the 2022 season in a loss to Washington. Photo by Jack Gorman
For most of this 2022 NFL season, the Houston Texans, in the midst of a sea of losses, have managed to inexplicably hang around in virtually every game. They don't do it in a way that is particularly dynamic or even fun, but in the fourth quarter of every game this season, they find themselves at some point within a score of the opposition.

The explanations as to why that has been the case, this in an inexplicably strange brand of competitiveness, may not matter anymore, because if the wheels are about to come off on the Texans' 2022 season, we will probably look back at the first half of the 23-10 loss in Week 11 to the Washington Commanders as the day that the Texans went from plucky loser to pathetic loser.

Behold, some of the first half stats of yesterday's game:

FIRST DOWNS: Commanders 14, Texans 1
TOTAL YARDS: Commanders 246, Texans 5
TIME OF POSSESSION: Commanders 19:13, Texans 10:47
SCORE: Commanders 20, Texans 0

It was hard finding winners in Texans uniforms, and much easier finding losers. Let's dig into both categories here:


4. Christian Kirksey
It's honestly hard to find one person on the Texans to praise from yesterday's game (let alone FOUR!), so I'll give some kudos to the veteran Kirksey, who was flying around early in the game, garnered a tackle for loss, and somewhere along the way noticed the 700th tackle of his career. Also, he was a delightful guest on the radio postgame show. That's about all I got for the Texans in the "good" column.

3. TCU Horned Frogs
We interrupt this struggle to find any redeeming football qualities in the 2022 Houston Texans with this replay of TCU's game winning field goal over Baylor on Saturday:
There is a magic about this TCU team, which has won several close games this season, and finds themselves ranked fourth in the College Football Playoff rankings. One more win over Iowa State, followed by a win in the Big XII title game, and the Horned Frogs will be dancing with a playoff bid.

2. NFL Draft 2023
If you're rooting for the Texans to win games, well that's normal. They are your team, and that's what fans do. They root for their team to win. However, if you're a Texans fan and you're rooting for them to lose, in the spirit of the "big picture" (i.e. NFL Draft), I get that, too. So the good news from yesterday's atrocity of a football game is that, not only did the Texans maintain the number one spot in the draft, but the Cleveland Browns lost again, falling to 3-7 on the season. This means the Texans' pick from the Deshaun Watson trade would currently be the 7th pick in the draft.

1. Mother Nature
The weather was delightful on Sunday, a crisp 50 degrees with sparkling sunshine, ideal weather to do the pregame show in Bud Light Plaza outside the stadium. Yes, that's how awful the Texans were on Sunday — I am praising Mother Nature as a winner.

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Dameon Pierce was upended for just eight yards in Sunday.
Photo by Jack Gorman
4. Dameon Pierce fantasy owners
On the afternoon, the Texans could not run the football a lick. They gained 21 yards on 16 carries, and Davis Mills was their leading ground gainer with 10 yards. Pierce was held to just 8 yards on 10 carries, easily the most anemic game of his young NFL career. Even when the Texans got into the red zone, it was Mills scampering in from a few yards out, not Pierce.
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Davis Mills was abysmal once again this week, generating just five yards of offense in the first half.
Photo by Jack Gorman
3. Davis Mills
Mills might be the worst quarterback I've ever watched who is in ZERO danger of losing his job. There are many stats I could draw from to illustrate the walking pile of suck that Mills has regressed into in 2022, but I will let Aaron Reiss of The Athletic do the honors:
Why do I say Mills is in no danger of losing his job? Well, funny you should ask....

2. Lovie Smith
The press conferences are getting worse and worse, and the resistance to any sort of change is becoming infuriating. In the offseason, after Smith was hired, it was a feel good story — lovable, nice guy "players coach" lands another shot at an NFL head coaching gig. We knew, though, that there would be losses, lots of them, and the question became "How would Lovie Smith respond to the losing?" The answer? Not well. Not well at all. On Sunday, when asked about replacing Mills, Smith responded like the media was asking to take a Cabo vacation with his wife, and then blamed the offensive line for the protection issues causing Mills to fail so miserably. Oh, and Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle, asked about the booing fans:

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Kenyon Green is getting baptized in the worst way in the last four weeks.
Photo by Jack Gorman
1. Kenyon Green
I've mentioned multiple times in this space over the last few weeks how rough it's been for Green, the rookie guard out of Texas A&M. In his defense, he's faced a gauntlet of really good defensive tackles. However, what the Commanders did to Green on Sunday was just savage.
Again, Green suffered multiple penalties, forced pressures, and embarrassing snaps. Right now, my biggest concern with Green is that all of this failure affects his psyche so badly that the scars become permanent.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at
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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