Savage Makes First Start, Clinches AFC South

Houston (CBS Houston) – Tom Savage made his first career NFL start on Saturday and he did fine as the Texans clinched the AFC South championship with a 12-10 victory over Cincinnati.

“I thought he held up well. Early on, we just gave him no opportunity to throw. He made some throws where he really got hit hard, and I’m surprised he got the ball off. He not only got it off, but he made a big throw. I thought he did fine,” Texans owner Bob McNair said.

It wasn’t sexy, it wasn’t as pretty as his relief appearance last week in Jacksonville, and his numbers weren’t gaudy, but he did what was needed. He was calm, he was collected, he didn’t turn the ball over and he won.

“(He) took care of the ball, made plays when he need to make plays, and at the end of the game, he can put on his hat that he’s a winning quarterback,” said Jonathan Joseph.

Savage completed 18 of his 29 passes for 176 yards without a touchdown and without an interception and a 79.1 quarterback rating.

“It’s not an easy defense to go against. They did a lot of adjusting, a lot of moving around to try to throw him off, throw us off up front. We got to continue to protect better and sit those guys down so he has time to operate. When he has time to operate he can make some big time throws,” Duane Brown said.

It’s rare for a quarterback to make his first NFL start and clinch a division in the same game, but Savage found a way to make it work.

“Young guy getting in there, going out there and making it happen. Controlling the game and making good decisions not turning over the ball. I’d would say he did a great job,” said Alfred Blue.

In the first half, Savage faced a lot of pressure that led to 4 sacks, but the offensive line protected better in the fourth quarter that led to 102 passing yards for Savage in the game’s final quarter.

“He was taking some shots, but we know how tough he is. We know he’s going to hang in there to the last second to make that throw,” Jeff Allen added.

Savage wasn’t as accurate this week as he was last week, and seemed to be throwing behind his receivers but his skill was apparent.

“He’s got some talent, he’s got a big time arm. He can move around and make some plays with his legs,” said Duane Brown.

The quarterback who has been a journeyman before even being drafted in the NFL, the quarterback that has had opportunities derailed by injuries, the quarterback who was an afterthought after the signing of a 6’8 free agent quarterback, now the fate of the Texans’ 2016 season rests in Savage’s hands.

More from Jeremy Branham
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