How much of a difference can Tyrod Taylor make for the Texans?
Houston Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) throws a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

For much of this season, veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor stood helpless on the sidelines as the Texans imploded on a weekly basis.

The team’s fortunes didn’t change much when Taylor was finally able to return from his hamstring injury and the Texans promptly fell to the also struggling Miami Dolphins, 17-9, on Nov. 7. The loss extended the Texans’ losing streak to eight games.

But Taylor says looking at the past isn’t going to do him or the Texans any good. It’s about finishing the last part of the season strong.

“Obviously, it happened, we lived it and we created it. But at the same time, you can’t look back and move forward at the same time,” said Taylor, who helped the Texans end their eight-game losing streak with the 22-13 upset of the Tennessee Titans. “You have to go out with the ‘1-0’ mindset each week, winning the day. You can’t play the game on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

 “You literally have to take it one day at a time, executing, focus each and every day and take that attitude one day at a time and one week at a time, and look up at the end of the season and see where you’re at. You can’t focus on the past.”

The hope is the return of the 11-year veteran quarterback can mask the Texans’ lack of overall talent in ways rookie quarterback Davis Mills could not in his six games as the starter. He was definitely a spark against the Titans, rushing for two touchdowns while completing 14 of 27 passes for 107. 

It was a stark contrast to his first week back when the normally steady Taylor also struggled in his return against the Dolphins, completing 24 of 43 passes for 240 yards and three interceptions. Taylor looked about as out of sync in the Dolphins game as his teammates had in the six games he was sidelined.

But his coaches and teammates all believe Taylor will bounce back and provide the leadership and steadying force the team needs going into the latter part of the season.

“He’s a 10-year veteran. He’s been there and he’s done that,” said Texans’ first-year coach David Culley. “He’s had a game under his belt. It was eight weeks before he played a football game. He came back and played a football game, did not play very well, was not very sharp. That game will obviously help him.

“He’s always been a guy that doesn’t make the same mistakes twice and I hope moving forward that’s how we go with him.”

Receiver Brandin Cooks, who at times this season has expressed his frustration with the team, is glad to have Taylor back.

“I still think he gave us that boost in Miami,” Cooks said. “But it’s good to be able to have that game under his belt, had the bye week, had some extra time to prep. So, we look forward to getting back out there together.”

Taylor says having the bye-week prior to the Titans game has helped the mindset of the team going into the last half of the season.

“Definitely energized, refocused, understanding the opportunity that’s ahead of us, and looking forward to take that challenge head on,” Taylor said.

I've been with The Defender since August 2019. I'm a long-time sportswriter who has covered everything from college sports to the Texans and Rockets during my 16 years of living in the Houston market....