NFL Football

Texans' Culley mulling QB change after another lopsided loss

(AP Photo/Eric Smith)

By KRISTIE RIEKEN

AP Sports Writer

HOUSTON (AP) Another terrible offensive performance by the Houston Texans this weekend has coach David Culley considering a quarterback change.

Culley benched Tyrod Taylor for rookie Davis Mills in the third quarter of a 31-0 loss to Indianapolis on Sunday and he said Monday that Taylor could lose his starting job.

Culley was asked what the most important factor will be in choosing who will start Sunday when the Texans host the Seattle Seahawks (4-8).

"After we keep evaluating what we are doing and just see where we need to go and what gives us the best chance to win," he said. "We'll make it based off of that. It will be later on in the week."

The Texans (2-10) gained just 141 yards as they were shut out for the second time this season and lost for the 10th time in 11 games.

Taylor struggled from the start Sunday when he threw an interception on the first play. Houston fumbled on the second possession and Taylor was benched late in the third quarter with the team trailing 21-0.

Culley said the right-handed Taylor hyperextended his left wrist Sunday, but that he could have finished the game if they needed him. He was 5 of 13 for 45 yards.

Before Sunday, Culley had been staunch in his support of Taylor and as late as last week, he said that he would remain the team's starter if he was healthy. On Monday, Culley was asked if contemplating benching the 11-year veteran was difficult after being so adamant about him keeping the job previously.

"No, not when you are looking at the way we've been playing, how our offense has been playing," Culley said. "Obviously, the job of our quarterback is to score points and get us in the end zone and we haven't done that very well and we are going to see what we can do to get that corrected. That's why we are doing the evaluation right now."

Mills, a third-round pick from Stanford, didn't turn over the ball after taking over, but he also was unable to get the offense going. He threw for 49 yards as the Texans punted on two of his possessions and turned the ball over on downs on three others.

Mills lost all six starts this season when filling in for Taylor after he injured a hamstring in Week 2. Mills returned to the bench when Taylor came back against the Dolphins on Nov. 7. Mills has struggled with turnovers and has eight interceptions with seven touchdowns.

Taylor had three touchdown passes and no interceptions in his first two starts, but he's also had trouble with turnovers since his return. He has five interceptions with just two TD passes in the past four games.

Culley isn't sure why Taylor has been turning the ball over so much lately, but said the turnovers are the No. 1 reason why he's evaluating the position.

WHAT'S WORKING

After a 31-point shutout at home it would be difficult to pick anything that's working on this embarrassing team.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

If the Texans hope to win again this season, they'll have to take better care of the ball and get back to forcing turnovers. Taylor's interception on the first play Sunday put them in an early hole and they never recovered. In the Texans' two victories this season, they did not have a turnover and combined for eight takeaways.

STOCK UP

LB Kamu Grugier-Hill set a franchise record with 19 tackles Sunday. He also had a sack and three tackles for losses against the Colts. The six-year veteran leads the team with a career-high 88 tackles.

STOCK DOWN

LB Zach Cunningham was inactive Sunday after being suspended for violating team rules. The move comes after he was suspended for a quarter in a game earlier this season for the same thing.

INJURED

RB David Johnson is questionable this week after missing Sunday's game with an illness and a thigh injury. ... LT Laremy Tunsil, who had thumb surgery in October, is still not ready to return.

KEY NUMBER

41:35 - Houston's defense was overworked Sunday when the Colts dominated time of possession by holding the ball for 41:35.

NEXT STEPS

Regardless of who starts at quarterback Sunday, the Texans must find a way to jumpstart their slumping offense. While the focus was on the struggles in the passing game against the Colts, the running game continues to be a problem and must improve to help whoever is under center against the Seahawks.

The Texans rank last in the NFL in averaging just 78.8 yards rushing a game.

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Updated December 6, 2021

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