Texans Fire Head Coach Lovie Smith

By Terrance Turner

Jan. 8, 2022

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – DECEMBER 11: Head coach Lovie Smith of the Houston Texans looks on prior to a game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on December 11, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)

The Houston Texans have fired head coach Lovie Smith.

Texans CEO Cal McNair says he made the decision with general manager Nick Caserio. In a statement, he said: “Nick Caserio and I spoke with Lovie Smith tonight and informed him that we will be moving in a different direction as an organization. I appreciate Coach Smith and his entire family for their contributions over the last two seasons.”

The Game

Today, in their regular season finale, the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts met up in Indy. They tied in their first game of the season; today they battled in their last game of the season. Neither team has played particularly well: Houston’s entering at 2-13 (minus the tie) Indy’s at 4-11.

First Half

The Texans have gone eight straight games without an opening drive touchdown. But they got one today when quarterback Davis Mills connected with wide receiver Brandon Cooks for an 11-yard touchdown reception.

Indianapolis fumbled on its next drive; Dallis Flowers was running on the kickoff return when Colts linebacker Cameron McGrone punched the ball out. So McGrone forced a fumble on his own teammate.

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Houston recovered. The Texans quickly cashed in on the turnover. Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn sent a 37 yard attempt through to give Houston a 10-0 lead.

Colts scored with a TD to Michael Pittman. Texans fumbled. Then Colts quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw a pick-six: Texans Jonathan Greenard caught the interception and returned it for a touchdown.

Ehlinger followed that up with another pick. This time, his pass intended for receiver Parris Campbell got intercepted by Texans linebacker Christian Kirksey.

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Second Half

The third quarter started off rough for Indianapolis. Ehlinger dazzled with a pass to Campbell bringing the Colts to first and goal. Unfortunately his next three completions fell incomplete. The Colts settled for a field goal, but the try never happened. Referees flagged the Texans defense for encroachment.

That penalty caused Indy to reverse course and go for it on fourth down. Colts head coach Jeff Saturday said: “We’re going for it.” But the Colts came up empty as the past intended for #80 sailed too high. Colts turned the ball over on downs.

But the Colts stormed their way back in the rest of the half. The third and fourth quarters unfolded as follows:

3RD QUARTERHOUIND
TD6:40Zack Moss 15 Yd Run (Chase McLaughlin Kick)5 plays, 49 yards, 2:481714
TD3:51Jordan Akins 19 Yd pass from Davis Mills (Ka’imi Fairbairn Kick)5 plays, 75 yards, 2:492414
TD0:52Rodney McLeod Jr. 27 Yd Interception Return (Chase McLaughlin Kick)3 plays, 2 yards, 0:542421
4TH QUARTERHOUIND
TD10:30Mo Alie-Cox 4 Yd pass from Sam Ehlinger (Chase McLaughlin Kick)7 plays, 58 yards, 4:302428
FG3:33Chase McLaughlin 54 Yd Field Goal10 plays, 40 yards, 5:242431
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Fourth Quarter Comeback

The Texans were down 31-24 with just 3:33 left. Could they retake the lead and win the game? Quarterback Davis Mills said yes. He rallied the team to a win, converting not one but two fourth-down plays.

On 4th and 12, Mills hurled a pass to wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who made an incredible catch for 30 yards. Refs ruled it complete, but then questioned the catch and took it to review. The replay official reviewed the pass completion ruling, and the play was Upheld. The ruling on the field stands.

Mills threw to incomplete passes after that, then got sacked on 3rd and 10. He had one last chance. But somehow, on 4th and 20 (!!!), he made it, throwing to tight end Jordan Akins fo ra 28-yard touchdown:

Unbelievably, Mills and Akins re-connected for a successful two-point conversion:

The Texans won, 32-31. They won their final game of the season. But they lose the No. 1 pick: the Chicago Bears will get the number one pick in the NFL Draft for the first time since 1947.

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