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Dameon Pierce flying under radar in breakout rookie season
Sep 25, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Houston Texans running back Dameon Pierce (31) runs the ball in the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. (Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports)

Dameon Pierce flying under radar in breakout rookie season

HOUSTON (BVM) – Rookie running back Dameon Pierce continued to be a steady hand in the Houston Texans’ offense on Sunday, adding a 92-yard rushing performance to his growing opening campaign. While the Texans search for building blocks on a young roster, it’s becoming more and more evident that Pierce has established himself as a player the team can get behind.

“He has had a consistent impact on our team,” head coach Lovie Smith said after the team’s win back in Week 5. “When he came into the building, we knew that he was going to finish. He is going to show toughness, and he is going to make plays.

“He is going to make you miss in the open field and doing what a No. 1 running back should do. On a day like today, we needed to lean on the run, and I thought he was outstanding.”

Pierce’s recent effort against the Las Vegas Raiders wouldn’t help the Texans in the win column, but the play of the team’s rookie running back has become a welcomed bright spot in what has been a trying opening to the 2022 season. While only playing 52 percent of the team’s offensive snaps, Pierce still found a way to rack up 84 yards of total offense in the first half. With his lowest snap percentage total this season, the Texans rookie proved he could do more with less, topping the 80-yard rushing mark for the fourth time this season. 

Pierce, who was taken by the Houston Texans with the 107th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, has showcased an ability to keep the chains moving through the first seven weeks of the season after spending much of his time at the collegiate level as an underutilized commodity. Heading into the team’s game against Las Vegas, Pierce ranked first among rookie running backs in both yards after contact and missed tackles.

While Pierce becomes a focal point of the team’s offense, the 22-year-old running back should be in line for a growing workload in both the running and passing attack. Before the Texans’ Week 7 matchup, Smith highlighted the importance of the position in Pep Hamilton’s offense. With a consistent chance to get carries, Pierce has a clear chance to take over games unlike many around the league.

“Lead tailback needs to get at least 20 carries,” head coach Lovie Smith told KPRC 2 Houston when talking about how he envisions the team’s offensive game plan working.

Pierce’s ability so far this season has made him an under-the-radar fantasy star, but the Houston back now has solidified himself as one of the the top candidates for this season’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award. With a chance to continue his efforts on the ground, look for the Texans’ back to take things to a higher level as he gains more experience in his opening year.

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