On second-and-10 from the Minnesota 46-yard line, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson launched a deep pass that was caught by tight end Jordan Akins over the middle of the field. Smith attempted to make a tackle but led with the crown of his head to bring Akins down at the end of a 26-yard reception. Referees deliberated for several minutes before disqualifying Smith. Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer was irate on the sideline and seen arguing with a member of the officiating crew after Smith's ejection.
Shortly thereafter, the Texans announced Akins was being evaluated for a concussion. He was then ruled out.
The Texans were set up at the 10-yard line after the penalty but came away with a field goal. The Vikings exited the first half up 17-6.
Minnesota is thin in its secondary after only making four cornerbacks active on Sunday and activating safety George Iloka off the practice squad Saturday. Iloka will replace Smith opposite Anthony Harris.