HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – Tom Savage was never supposed to be the starting quarterback of the Houston Texans, but with the continued struggles of Brock Osweiler, he may be assuming the role of savior.
The third-year back-up rallied the Texans back from a 12 point second half deficit to defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars 21-20 on Sunday to keep the Texans in first place in the AFC South. Osweiler threw a pair of first half interceptions, giving him 16 on the season, with his errant throw behind DeAndre Hopkins that landed in the hands of Telvin Smith was the last straw that led to Osweiler’s benching.
“I made a bad play worse. It’s inexcusable,” Osweiler said after the game explaining the interception. “It was a ball I never should have thrown. I probably just should have tucked it and scrambled for a few yards and got down. I completely understand why Coach (Bill O’Brien) did what he did.”
With Osweiler out, Savage, who has never made an NFL start and has taken snaps in just two NFL games, was asked to bring a spark to an offense that has been near the bottom of the NFL and while he did not throw a touchdown pass, he led the comeback with a solid 23/36 260 yards through the air.
“I wouldn’t be suited up if I wasn’t mentally ready to go out there.That’s what this team deserves,” Savage said after the game. They deserve someone to go in there and perform. When they call my name, that’s what I tried to do.”
Savage is the only quarterback Bill O’Brien has drafted to be a member of the Houston Texans when he was taken out of Pittsburgh (with two previous stops at Rutgers and Arizona) in the 2014 NFL Draft. He was always expected to be merely a high-upside project, but without a realistic shot of becoming the Texans starter.
Savage has shined during previous pre-seasons, but injuries the free agent signing of Osweiler have kept him from having a shot at competing for the starting job despite him being a favorite of O’Brien’s.
O’Brien explained the move to bench Osweiler in his post game press conference and just as he’s emphasized before, he makes decisions based on things beyond draft status and salary.
“I think we have a really talented quarterback room, and we don’t make decisions on how much a guy gets paid,” O’Brien said. “We make decisions on what’s the best way to win a game. That was the decision we made today, and I thought today, it worked out ok.”
Osweiler admitted he wasn’t surprised by the move and was complimentary of Savage’s ability to rally the club to a victory. He also alluded to the fact that being benched is familiar territory as he was sat by the Denver Broncos last season for Peyton Manning.
“I’ve been down this road before. It didn’t surprise me,” Osweiler said. “When it happened to me prior, obviously with a different team and a different season, it was to spark the team and sometimes that’s what it takes.”
O’Brien would not commit to Savage or Osweiler on Sunday ahead of Saturday’s home finale against Cincinnati. Osweiler was ready for whatever role the team has for him.
“If I start, I start, and I’m going to give this team everything I have performance-wise. If I’m the backup, I’m going to be there to support (Savage). I’m going to coach him and do everything he asks of me.”
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