The Jets weren’t the only team to make a quarterback change Wednesday. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (and confirmed by longtime beat reporter John McClain), the Texans have benched quarterback Davis Mills in favor of Kyle Allen, who is expected to start Sunday’s game in Miami. For Allen, it will be his first start since 2020 and the 18th of his NFL career, which began as an undrafted free agent in 2018.
This comes on the heels of another dreadful performance by Mills in Week 11, throwing two interceptions in a loss to Washington. A third-round pick out of Stanford, Mills has been a disaster this season, leading the league with 11 interceptions while rating 28th out of 39 positional qualifiers on ProFootballFocus. Mills, like Allen, was a five-star high-school recruit who underachieved in college, only to ascend to QB1 status as a rookie in 2021, taking over for Tyrod Taylor, who, himself, was filling in for suspended starter Deshaun Watson, now of the Cleveland Browns.
Owners of the league’s worst record at 1-8-1, the Texans are playing for draft position at this point, hoping to secure a top pick that could then be used on a future franchise quarterback like reigning Heisman winner Bryce Young or Ohio State standout C.J. Stroud. Mills was never Houston’s long-term solution at quarterback and, barring a Geno Smith-like renaissance, Allen won’t be either. These are the growing pains that come with rebuilding a volatile organization that has gone through three coaches (Bill O’Brien, David Culley and Lovie Smith) in as many years.
Mills hasn’t done much to elevate an admittedly weak supporting cast headlined by starting receivers Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins and Chris Moore (second-round rookie John Metchie has been in cancer treatment following his recent leukemia diagnosis), settling in as a game-manager in the mold of so many fringe roster types destined to be journeyman backups. Losers of five straight, the Texans enter Sunday as 13.5-point road underdogs against the Dolphins, who have been among the most explosive offenses in football this year, averaging 391.5 yards per game, third-most behind only Buffalo and Kansas City.