John McClain's Texans report card after 23-20 loss at Bears



Once again, the Texans blew a chance to win their first game, and they’re saddled with an 0-2-1 record. The Bears gave them every chance to escape Soldier Field with an upset, but they couldn’t take advantage of it.

Grade: D

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Davis Mills threw one touchdown pass and two interceptions and finished with a 70.4 rating. The first interception was at the back of the end zone. The second one was tipped at the line by former Texans’ defensive tackle Angelo Blackson and intercepted by linebacker Roquan Smith to set up the Bears’ game-winning field goal.

Mills was throwing a third-and-1 pass to Rex Burkhead. Mills led an offense that was wretched in the fourth quarter – again. The Texans have been outscored 30-0 in the fourth quarter.

Grade: F

Running backs

Dameon Pierce got his most extensive action, but two fumbles that the Texans recovered caused him to sit out the last drive that ended with Rex Burkhead on the field.

On third-and-1, Pierce should have gotten the ball instead of trying a pass to Burkhead that was intercepted. Pierce finished with 20 carries for 80 yards and his first NFL touchdown. Burkhead contributed four catches and a 5.3-yard average per catch.

Grade: C

Wide receivers

They combined for only eight receptions. That’s not good enough in the NFL.

Brandin Cooks was targeted seven times and finished with two catches for 22 yards. He and Davis Mills aren’t connecting with the efficiency of last season.

Chris Moore had a 52-yard catch and closed with three for 63. Nico Collins had two for 41. He needs to get the ball more. Phillip Dorsett had one reception for 15 yards for a clutch first down.

Grade: C-minus

Tight ends

Jordan Akins was activated from the practice squad to replace the injured Brevin Jordan. Akins had three catches for 31 yards, including a 25-yarder. He scored the first touchdown on a four-yard reception.

Pharaoh Brown also finished with three catches and 31 yards, including a 30-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Grade: C

Offensive line

Davis Mills was sacked once in the fourth quarter. He had plenty of time to throw for most of the game.

The run blocking improved, helping Dameon Pierce rush for a season-high 80 yards. Scott Quessenberry had a holding call in the fourth quarter that contributed to a stalled drive. Other than that, penalties weren’t an issue.

Grade: B-minus

Defensive line

First, the good news. Jerry Hughes had two sacks. Jonathan Greenard and Rasheem Green shared a sack. Green led the linemen with seven tackles, including two for loss.

But the run defense was terrible. Too often the linemen got steamrolled.

Grade: F


The run defense was as embarrassing for the linebackers as it was the linemen. The difference is the linemen actually made some plays. Just a horrendous display of missed tackles and overall run defense.

Grade: F-minus


Jalen Pitre had two interceptions and a sack. Derek Stingley Jr. was credited with a sack when Justin Fields scrambled and was forced out of bounds.

Like the linemen and linebackers, they missed too many tackles and contributed to the humiliating performance against the run.

Grade: D

Special teams

Desmond King II had a 31-yard punt return to set up a touchdown drive.

Cam Johnston was outstanding. He had a 48.4-yard gross average and a 48.2 net. He put five punts inside the 20.

Ka’imi Fairbairn continued his terrific start with two field goals, giving him 63 in a row inside the 40, and five touchbacks.

If the offense and defense played the first three games like the special teams, the Texans would be undefeated.

Grade: A


Lovie Smith is now 0-2 at Soldier Field as an opposing head coach. His run defense may have been the worst of his career, allowing 281 yards and 7 a carry.

The defense registered five sacks and did an excellent job against Justin Fields.

As for Pep Hamilton’s offense, the Texans continue to struggle with consistency throwing and running the ball. The Texans had a chance to win and blew it, which is getting to be a habit.

Grade: F

John McClain can be heard Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday on Sports Radio 610 and Monday and Thursday on Texans Radio. He does three Houtopia Podcasts a week for SportsRadio610. He also can be read four times a week on

Featured Image Photo Credit: Quinn Harris/Getty Images