Houston Texans QB Tyrod Taylor leaves game with hamstring injury

CLEVELAND -- Houston Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor left Sunday's 31-21 loss to the Cleveland Browns with a hamstring injury and was replaced by rookie quarterback Davis Mills to start the second half.

Head coach David Culley did not rule Taylor out for Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers and said the team didn't know the severity of the injury other than "it was severe enough that he couldn't play in the second half."

Culley said Taylor sustained the injury before he ran for a 15-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter.

"He came off on the sideline, running to the left and he kind of pulled up, and knew something was wrong then," Culley said. "But he thought he was OK. But once we got in, we realized that he had pulled it pretty good."

Taylor headed toward the locker room just before halftime and did not return to the sideline at the start of the third quarter.

Mills finished 8-of-18 for 102 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Mills was Houston's first draft pick -- a third-round selection -- in April.

Culley said he thought Mills "did really well" in his NFL debut, especially after receiving "very few" reps with the first-team group during practice. Culley said if Mills does start on Thursday, he is "very confident" in Mills' ability.

"On our sideline, it was as if Tyrod was in there when he was in there," Culley said. "It was no different. We didn't really do anything different."

When asked whether there was a chance that Deshaun Watson, who is on the Texans' 53-man roster but was inactive for Houston's first two games, would play on Thursday, Culley said, "We'll have to see." Watson, who requested a trade in January, is facing accusations of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior in 22 active civil lawsuits.

Taylor, who completed 10 of 11 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown, was playing in Cleveland for the first time since 2018, when he was a member of the Browns. After he left a Week 3 game with a concussion, then-rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield took over. The Browns won the game, and Mayfield kept the starting job.

Sunday's game against the Browns was Taylor's 12th with a passing touchdown and rushing touchdown. According to ESPN Stats & Information, that ranks fifth in NFL history behind Cam Newton (18), Josh Allen (16), Dak Prescott (16) and Kirk Cousins (13).