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Texans rookie quarter T.J. Yates, making his starting debut, converted 12 of 25 passes for 188 yards and one touchdown to lead Houston to an impressive 17-10 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday at Reliant Stadium.
The Texans improved to 9-3 and remain in first place in the AFC.
Yates, a fifth-round pick out of North Carolina, was pressed into duty this week after both starter Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart suffered season-ending injuries in back-to-back weeks. But at times you wouldn’t have known Yates has only been taking reps with the starting offense for just two weeks as he led the Texans on a couple impressive drives.
It was his decision-making that helped the Texans seal the game on a 19-play, 85-yard scoring drive that began late in the third quarter and ended with 6:05 remaining on the fourth on a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Arian Foster to break a 10-10.
Yates also led the Texans on an impressive 80-yard drive in the second quarter that ended with him firing a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Joel Dreeseen at the goal line with several Falcons jerseys around him. During that drive, Yates threw a perfect deep ball to receiver Andre Johnson that was good for 50 yards to the Atlanta 4.
In addition to Yates’ play, the Texans No.1 ranked defense also had another outstanding performance. The unit was able to limit the runs of Michael Turner and make the Falcons explosive offense one-dimensional. It is the sixth straight games in which the Texans have held teams to 14 points on less.
The defense came up with late stands to stifle the Falcons, including a last-minute drive that got as far as the Texans 25 in the waning moments.
The only down side to the game was that Johnson left the game with a left hamstring injury in the third quarter. Johnson was playing in just his second game since returning from missing six games with a hamstring injury.