Pete Carroll was understandably fired up after the Seahawks’ slump-busting victory over the rival 49ers on Sunday. His message to the team afterward?
“We ain’t dead yet, boys!”
As remote as the playoffs are for the 4-8 Seahawks, Carroll isn’t wrong. And the Seahawks have another prime chance to keep those slim hopes alive this week with a matchup against the dreadful Houston Texans.
Details on this week’s game:
Seahawks (4-8) at Texans (2-10)
Time: 10 a.m. PT Sunday at NRG Stadium, Houston
Radio: 710 ESPN Seattle
Betting line: Seahawks are a 7.5-point favorite.
Series history: Seahawks lead the all-time series 3-1.
Three things to know about the Texans this week:
The worst franchise in the NFL right now?
One could make a strong case that Houston holds that title. As evidence, here’s a sampling of the headlines in the Houston Chronicle in just the past two days:
— Congrats, Cal McNair. Your Texans have reached a new low
— Texans fan yelling at Cal McNair in viral video explains what happened
— The memes are just depressing as the Texans get humiliated again
— Texans’ shutout loss to Colts merits zero-star review
The Texans, as you can surmise, are a disaster on and off the field.
Their best player, QB Deshaun Watson, has been inactive all season as an investigation continues into allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.
And their front office, as described in a Sports Illustrated report at the end of last season, has been in “a state of constant chaos.”
As Chronicle columnist Brian T. Smith wrote this week: “The Texans have been good at one thing and one thing only during a historic 2021 season: suspending players, disciplining players and paying players millions of dollars not to play for the Texans. … This is the worst team in Texans history.”
The Texans are 2-10 and are coming off a 31-0 loss to the Colts at home, becoming the first team to be eliminated from playoff contention this season.
“I mean, look, nobody’s happy with where we are,” first-year GM Nick Caserio said Tuesday on Houston radio. “All of us take responsibility. Quite frankly, none of it’s been good enough.
“… Quite frankly, some of the things that have taken place aren’t really that surprising. We knew, I knew, it was going to be a massive undertaking. There was a lot of work to be done.”
And much more still to do.
A rookie starting at QB?
Rookie Davis Mills, a third-round pick out of Stanford, finished Sunday’s game against the Colts when veteran Tyrod Taylor exited with a left-wrist injury.
Taylor is reportedly week-to-week with the injury. Even if Taylor is healthy enough to play, the Texans are expected to turn to Mills as the starter against the Seahawks.
“When you don’t score any points during a game, you evaluate everything,” first-year coach David Culley said, via ESPN.
The Texans’ offense ranks dead last in the NFL in just about every notable statistical category, including points (13.7 per game), total yards (254.5) and rushing yards (78.8).
Mills started six games earlier this season when Taylor was on injured reserve (hamstring). Overall, he has completed 146 of 223 passes (65.5%) for 1,406 yards, seven touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Checking in on familiar names
There are several former Seahawks on Houston’s active roster.
Notably, Justin Britt returned as the Texans’ starting center against the Colts after six weeks on injured reserve (knee).
The Seahawks’ second-round pick in 2014, Britt was a mainstay on the Seahawks’ offensive line from 2014-19, starting 86 of 87 games during that time. He tore his ACL midway through the 2019 season, and the Seahawks released him in April 2020.
He sat out the entire 2020 season, and then signed a one-year, $5 million deal with Houston last spring.
“Last year was the longest probably year of my life, but the most enjoyable at the same time,” Britt told the team website earlier this year. “I missed football like crazy but I had time to take care of my body, let my body fully heal, give my knee the attention it needed.”
Jacob Martin, another ex-Seahawk, is having another solid season for Houston as a pass-rush specialist.
Martin was part of the return Seattle sent to Houston in the blockbuster deal for Jadeveon Clowney at the end of training camp in 2019. Three of Martin’s four sacks this season have come in the last four games, and he has two forced fumbles and a safety this season.
Another familiar name: veteran linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, a Seahawks fourth-round pick in 2014 who has seven tackles in six games with Houston this season.