After lifting the Texans to a comeback win over the Jaguars yesterday, coach Bill O’Brien has announced that Tom Savage will remain the starter for Saturday’s game against the Bengals.
It was like something out of a sports movie on Sunday when the underdog player comes in and suddenly he lifts the team and everything is better. That’s what happened to Tom Savage yesterday after Brock Osweiler was booed off the field following his second interception in as many drives against the Jaguars.
From there, the Texans outscored the Jaguars 21-7 and erased a 13-0 deficit to win 21-20. The passing game was sparked almost instantly as Savage threw for 260 yards on the day. DeAndre Hopkins also got involved with eight catches (second highest number of receptions this season) and 87 yards (only trailing his 113 yards against the Chiefs).
The announcers asked if Savage remain the starter next week or should Osweiler regain his job? Well O’Brien answered that quickly.
There are a reasons not to keep Savage in the lineup. Think back to last season–Brian Hoyer struggled in the opener against the Chiefs, then Ryan Mallett came in and did well and earned a couple starts and then sucked then Hoyer came back in and it was chaos. What happens if Savage throws four interceptions on Saturday against the Bengals–does he stay in for the showdown in Tennessee that could end up determining who wins the AFC South or do you go back to Osweiler?
But the argument that made up O’Brien’s mind was simply what happened on the field. Nobody can deny the lift that Savage gave the team. The team could have been so fed up with Osweiler’s futile play that getting Savage in galvanized the team and pushed them forward to the win. While I do think that’s at least partially true, let’s keep in mind it was the Jaguars this happened against–they find ways to lose games as well as anyone in the league.
The defense did its part to help in the comeback, allowing just three points to the Jaguars offense (not counting the ten that came off of turnovers). They also kept the Jags under raps in the second half. Jacksonville punted deep in their territory to set up Houston’s game winning drive.
Eating my words
Of course, I wrote recently that Osweiler was the guy for this season. Well, turns out I was wrong. After sparingly seeing moments of hope, the “franchise” guy has finally been put on the bench.
It makes me wonder, if Savage is so good then:
A) why was Osweiler signed in the first place?
B) what took O’Brien so long to make the move?
Do I believe that Savage is the long term solution? Not yet. But I imagine he will start the rest of the season. See what’s he’s really got and avoid the week to week question from last year.
I was never really convinced that Osweiler was going to step in and be the franchise quarterback. You can see that from what I wrote in a couple articles after he signed:
When Osweiler replaced Manning last season, he was uneven. He spurred a comeback in the fourth quarter against the Patriots that allowed Denver to get home field advantage throughout the playoffs and made the Patriots return to Denver for the AFC Championship Game. But he was also so bad against the 4-11 Chargers in week 17 that Manning replaced him in the second half, and led the Broncos to the win that sealed home field.
His overall numbers look okay with 10 touchdowns to just six interceptions and a 61.8 completion percentage. But five of the eight games he appeared in he averaged under seven yards per attempt. He threw a lot of low risk passes and checkdowns
he has a small sample size and did not strike me as a bona fide franchise quarterback during his time in the Broncos starting lineup last season. He was efficient, but there were times the offense got really stagnant–namely in week 17 when they were trailing the Chargers and he got pulled for Peyton Manning, whom he replaced due to Manning’s ineffective play earlier in the year.
His overall numbers last year weren’t bad, he had a completion percentage of 61.8% and ten touchdowns to six interceptions. He did take a lot of sacks, but assuming Duane Brown comes back the offensive line in front of him should be as good if not better this season.
If the coaches decide to keep Savage as the starter going into 2017, what do they do with Osweiler? The Texans still will owe him a ton of money, so he could end up like RG3 in Washington. Jay Gruden wouldn’t play him but the front office won’t get rid of him so he was inactive every game.
Who becomes the “franchise quarterback” during this offseason remains to be seen. But for now, let’s just savor another playoff run.