Playing in his second NFL start this season, Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Mallett reportedly played through a right pectoral muscle injury in their 22-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. The Houston Chronicle first reported the injury. An MRI Monday reportedly revealed a tear, effecitvely ending the season for Mallett.
It is believed Mallett initially suffered the injury last week in the Texans’ 23-7 win over the Cleveland Browns. He appeared on the injury report this week with a chest injury. A week after leading the Texans to victory with a stellar performance, Mallett was ineffective on Sunday versus the Bengals. He was 21 of 45 passing for 189 yards and one interception. The injury is a telling reason behind the dramatic drop-off in performance. Wide receiver Andre Johnson had three receptions for 36 yards despite being thrown at 12 times by Mallett.
The Houston Texans were already shorthanded on offense with running back Arian Foster sitting out his second straight game with a groin injury. Mallett’s inaccuracy from playing through the pectoral injury, allowed the Bengals defense to focus on the run game. Cincinnati contains Houston’s backup running back Alfred Blue to 46 yards on 16 carries. The Bengals built a 16-3 lead until Houston cornerback Jonathan Joseph intercepted Andy Dalton and returned the turnover 60 yards for a touchdown. Cincinnati’s lead was eventually reduced to 16-13 following a Ryan Bullock field goal.
However, Dalton was able to orchestrate two drives for field goals to extend their lead to nine. The win was Dalton’s first against the Houston Texans. He had lost all three previous meetings, including the playoffs.
Following the game Mallett addressed the media with his right hand inside his pocket. When asked if he was hurt, he diverted the questions. At one point he eluded to his hand not being injured and did not bring of the fact the Houston Texans quarterback played through a pectoral injury.
The Texans traded a conditional pick that could be a sixth or seventh round draft pick for Mallett towards the end of preseason. Mallett was reunited with head coach Bill O’Brien, who was the offensive coordinator in New England during Mallet’s rookie season in 2011. Mallet sat on the bench as Ryan Fitzpatrick started the first nine games of the season. Fitzpatrick had 11 touchdowns, eight interceptions, and five fumbles lost. His struggles forced O’Brien’s hand to turn to Mallett last week.
In his first start, Mallett was 20 of 30 for 211 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, showing why O’Brien made the switch at quarterback against the Browns. Sunday there was a difference, costing the Houston Texans. Despite the reported injury possibly playing a role in his struggles on Sunday, Mallett still pointed the finger at himself for the loss. “I didn’t play well,” Mallett said.
Losing Mallet will serve as a huge blow for team as well, who have grown to respect the young man despite his inexperience as a starter, especially after the Houston Texans quarterback played through the pectoral injury on Sunday. Texans center Chris Myers called Mallett the team’s “field general.” Fitzpatrick is expected to start for the Houston Texans in Mallet’s absence. The Texans are schedule to host the Tennessee Titans, who are coming off a 43-24 loss to the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles, next week. Houston is 5-6 on the season, and trailing the Indianapolis Colts by two games in the AFC South standings.
By King Motley
Photo By Gary Denham – Flickr License