Tom Savage replaces Brock Osweiler in Texans’ victory

Coach Bill O’Brien, like so many Texans fans, had finally seen enough. Houston’s free-agent boondoggle, Brock Osweiler, was benched Sunday.

Tom Savage is real and so are the third-year quarterback’s chances of taking over the starting job for a team in the playoff race. Once believed to be a fictional creation of the Draft Industrial Complex, Savage took over for and Osweiler in the second quarter Sunday after two early interceptions by Osweiler against the Jaguars. The Texans trailed 13-0 at the time of Osweiler’s benching and Savage eventually helped the Texans pull off a 21-20 comeback victory.

“I think we’ve got three really talented quarterbacks here — I really do,” O’Brien said after the game. You can call B.S. on that, you can say whatever you want. I think we have a really talented quarterback room and we don’t make decisions on how much a guy gets paid. We make decisions on what’s the best way to win a game with jerseys wholesale and that was the decision we made today and I thought today it worked out okay.”

While Osweiler was handed a monster $72 million contract in the offseason to solve the Texans’ quarterback woes, this benching could be permanent. It’s hard to imagine the Texans going back to Osweiler after Savage completed 23 of 36 passes for 260 yards on Sunday. Most importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over.

While Savage showed some downfield capability, Osweiler has been one of the worst starting quarterbacks in football all season. Savage also showed promise in the preseason. After the game, O’Brien wouldn’t commit to which quarterback will start on Christmas Eve night against the Bengals.

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“This game Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis, this is the biggest game of our season,” Osweiler said, per the team’s official website. “I’m viewing our season right now as a one-game season and it’s one game that we must win. I think our entire football team understands that. There’s great urgency in this building right now and it reflected at today’s practice. No doubt about it, we understand as a team how important Sunday is and you can expect our best effort come Sunday.”

Three teams — the Texans, Colts and — sit tied atop the division at 6-6. Houston currently holds the tiebreakers thanks to wins over both Tennessee and Indianapolis.

In the last meeting versus the Colts, Osweiler led the Texans on a fourth-quarter comeback after trailing 23-9 to win in overtime. In that Week 6 win, Houston used a no-huddle attack that helped Osweiler to a season-high 269 yards passing and two touchdowns.

While Brock Osweiler was his usual depressing self for most of the game, give him some credit for key throws on Houston’s fourth-quarter field goal drive which took 6:19 off the clock. If you only watched the fourth quarter of Colts-Texans games this year, you’d think Osweiler has delivered for Houston. The team’s comeback victory in Week 6 now looms large with Houston (7-6) having swept the season series.

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Indianapolis’ wideout depth has been an issue all season. After left with a hamstring injury in the first quarter, Phillip Dorsett dropped 2-3 passes. He wound up with 19 yards on eight targets.

Now 6-7 and third place in the South, the Colts head on the road the next two weeks in Minnesota and Oakland. With Tennessee and Houston both at 7-6, Indianapolis may have to win out to get in the tournament. They aren’t complete enough to do that.

A week ago, Rapoport reported that teams needing a coach — then a majority of the six teams with openings this winter — would be interested in authentic sports jerseys and O’Brien’s future should the Texans lose early in the postseason.

The grind of an NFL season can wear on relationships and cause plenty of mental fatigue. Whatever was motivating any potential separation between O’Brien and the Texans seems to be calming down. Houston may have realized that they have a coach who, in three seasons, has won the division twice and has never finished with a losing record.

Also, the only head coach opening right now is in San Francisco, which is far less desirable in terms of available personnel than in Houston.

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