The Houston Texans shocked a lot of people on Thursday Night Football by keeping up with the Philadelphia Eagles for most of the game, challenging the league's only undefeated team in an unexpected way. The Texans dropped to 1-6-1 with the 29-17 loss, but they did have some great moments that showed the talent of some key players.
One standout player was rookie running back Dameon Pierce, who was a major reason the Texans actually had a chance for most of the matchup. The rookie finished with 139 yards on 27 carries, a career high. The Eagles run defense had a hard time stopping him.
Pierce got praise from his head coach Love Smith after the game.
"He is hard to stop," Smith said. "You know, I wouldn't want to be a defensive back with him having a full head of steam running downhill. You know, when I say just continuing to go, keeping his legs moving, moving the pile. What we want to be, a running football team. Physical running attack. Our tailback kind of says it all in what we would like to be."
Quarterback Davis Mills also praised the rookie, giving a little "I told you so" to everyone.
"I've been saying it all year," Mills said, via NFL.com. "The run game helps a lot with the total offense, helping the pass game and opening up other runs. But Dameon, I don't even know if he thought coming into this year how well he would do, but seeing how hard he works, it's not very surprising. He is putting in good game after good game and continues to do it, fights hard for extra yards. A lot of it goes, and he will tell you too, to how well the offensive line is playing. And Troy (Hairston) at fullback opened up some holes. I think it's a full effort, but you can't deny his talent and his will to go out there and put up a bunch of yards every week."
It is hard not to notice that Pierce is the star of this offense and seems to only be improving as the season progresses. He has 678 yards with three touchdowns on the ground, and 98 receiving yards on 20 catches with one touchdown in the air.
He has the fourth most rushing yards in the league, behind Nick Chubb, Saquon Barkley, Derrick Henry. Pierce averages 77.0 yards per game, which is first among rookies. He has forced 41 missed tackles, second best among all running backs, and has the most receptions among rookie running backs.
Pierce will have his next chance to make a statement on Nov. 13 when the Texans face the 6-2 New York Giants.