The Houston Texans faced off against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, hoping to secure their second win of the 2021 NFL season. Instead, they were the victim of Buffalo’s second shutout of the year, a 40-0 drubbing where the outcome was never in doubt.
The Bills throttled the Texans in every way imaginable, holding Houston to just 109 net yards on the game. There were really no bright spots for the Texans, as Buffalo did exactly what they needed to do against an inferior opponent.
Here’s how our players to watch performed this week.
QB Davis Mills
All you need to know about the rookie’s day is this: In the first half, when it was still ostensibly a game, Mills completed more passes to Buffalo defenders (two) than he did to his own teammates (one). Mills was one-of-seven for three yards and two interceptions, one to Tremaine Edmunds and one to Micah Hyde, in the game’s first 30 minutes. Brandin Cooks caught the lone pass in the first half. Mills finished the game 11-of-21 for 87 yards with four interceptions on the day. He took three sacks and ran once for a two-yard gain. He also fumbled when he wasn’t touched, as the wet football slipped right out of his hands on Houston’s first possession of the game. At times, I almost felt bad for him, as the man expected to be Houston’s third-string quarterback really shouldn’t have been anywhere near the playing surface on Sunday. However, he was—and the Bills took full advantage.
WR Brandin Cooks
The veteran once again saw more targets than any other Houston player, and he once again accounted for half of his quarterback’s completion and yardage totals. Cooks was targeted seven times, making five catches for 47 yards. That pedestrian effort was buoyed by some grabs against Buffalo’s second-team defense in the fourth quarter.
EDGE Whitney Mercilus
Houston’s top pass rusher made a play, as he was able to break through left tackle Dion Dawkins and take down Josh Allen for the Texans’ only sack of the day. Aside from that play, though, Mercilus had just one other tackle. For the most part, Allen had time to throw, and the Bills had their best game running the football in a long time, so Buffalo’s offensive line rebounded to control Mercilus and the Houston front seven.
CB Vernon Hargreaves III
Well, Hargreaves was among Houston’s top corners in terms of snaps over the first three games of the season, but this week he only logged 14 defensive snaps. I can’t see anywhere saying he was injured, so I suppose he was lifted at some point for performance. In any event, Hargreaves made one tackle on his 14 snaps.
KR/PR Andre Roberts
I figured that Roberts would take some chances this week even if the situation didn’t call for it, as he would absolutely want to break a big return against his former team, and some special teams miscues would be the only hope Houston had at staying in this one. Alas, Roberts tried but was unable to do much with his return attempts. The veteran returner took the ball four times on kickoffs, returning for just 67 yards with a long of 18 on those runbacks. He returned one punt for just six yards. He appeared on two offensive snaps, but he was not targeted in the passing game and he did not run the ball, either.