Davis Mills delivers historic performance vs. Belichick's Patriots


Davis Mills apparently didn't read up on the history of rookie quarterbacks facing Bill Belichick in New England.

First-year signal-callers have a brutal track record against Belichick's Patriots, entering Sunday with a 6-21 combined record and a 61.6 passer rating. New York Jets rookie Zach Wilson was Belichick's latest victim, tossing four interceptions with zero touchdowns in a Week 2 loss to New England.

Most expected Mills to meet a similar fate Sunday in Houston. But the Texans' third-round draft pick bucked convention by lighting up the Patriots' fourth-ranked pass defense at NRG Stadium.

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Mills completed 21 of 29 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions, good for a 141.7 passer rating in Houston's near-upset of New England.

Long story short: Mills' performance was the best ever by a rookie QB against the Patriots since Belichick took over in 2000.

Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson is the only other QB to throw three TD passes versus New England as a rookie. Wilson narrowly missed the 300-yard mark, though, finishing with 293 yards on 16-of-27 passing in Seattle's 2012 victory over the Patriots.

That Mills performed better against Belichick's defense than the likes of Wilson, Andrew Luck, Deshaun Watson and Justin Herbert is pretty eye-opening, especially since Mills entered the day with 357 passing yards total in his first three NFL games.

But the Stanford product made some excellent throws against the Patriots' defense to help the Texans jump out to a 13-point lead in the third quarter.


Houston's defense, special teams and poor clock management prevented Mills from becoming just the seventh rookie QB to defeat Belichick, but the rookie certainly turned some heads with his valiant effort.