Although the Texans had to go with a makeshift offensive line due to coronavirus cases, they had one of their top performances of the season Sunday in an upset victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Texans rushed for 189 yards, including a career-high 149 yards and two touchdowns from running back Rex Burkhead.
They also allowed just one sack as rookie quarterback Davis Mills completed 21 of 27 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns for a 130.6 passer rating. He was only hit twice behind left tackle Geron Christian Sr., left guard Cole Toner, rookie center Jimmy Morrissey, right guard Max Scharping and right tackle Charlie Heck. Left tackle Tytus Howard, left guard Lane Taylor and center Justin Britt were out after testing positive for COVID.
“That’s really something to be proud of," Heck said. "That’s something you will look back on your playing career and that’s one of the things that will stick out. A group of guys, we’ve all been practicing the whole year so it’s fun to see a lot of guys get that opportunity come together. When we had success, it was awesome. Really proud."
Burkhead had a huge hole to bust through on his 25-yard touchdown run, following blocks from Christian and Toner and turning the corner to reach the left pylon.
“The backs did an awesome job, first and foremost," Heck said. "They were running hard and they were running angry. But up front we did a good job of getting our hats on a hat. We didn’t have many communication issues. Everybody did a good job of getting to their man. No kind of self-inflicted wounds on our part.
“That was awesome. You could just feel a burst of air and then you would see (Burkhead) getting up to the second level. He was running hard, and he always does. So, he did a great job.”
Mills' composure against an experienced defense and playoff contender helped lead to a 41-29 victory few, if anyone, envisioned.
“He’s always really seemed above his years," Heck said. "He never really felt like a rookie, but he’s really taken strides. He really kind of commands the huddle. You see that confidence in him. You see how he is taking control of the offense and kind of being the leader that a quarterback really should be.”
The Texans improved to 4-11 under first-year coach David Culley, winning consecutive games for the first time this season. They matched last season's win total under Bill O'Brien, fired after an 0-4 start, and Romeo Crennel, who went 4-8 as the interim coach.
“They’ve done an awesome job getting guys ready," Heck said. "It was kind of a hectic week but credit to everybody on the team. A lot of guys stepped up in a big way. A lot of guys kind of got their first significant snaps of the season. I thought a lot of those guys came up big. That’s really a credit to the coaches for getting everybody ready.”