HOUSTON — After quarterback Brock Osweiler threw two first-half interceptions, the Houston Texans benched him for backup Tom Savage midway through the second quarter in the Texans’ 21-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Osweiler’s interceptions came on back-to-back drives in the second quarter, and he finished 6-of-11 for 48 yards and two interceptions in five drives. He had a passer rating of 26.1. Savage played well in relief of Osweiler, finishing 23-of-36 for 260 yards without throwing a touchdown or an interception in less than three quarters of work.
Texans coach Bill O’Brien said he felt the decision he made to bench Osweiler was “in the best interest of the team.”
“I just felt like that was the best decision at that point in time for the team,” O’Brien said. “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. That was the decision we made today and I thought today, it worked out OK.”
Osweiler said though he was happy the Texans came back to win, he was of course disappointed to be pulled from the game.
“As a competitor, any time you don’t play well, you get pulled out of a game, of course there’s disappointment,” Osweiler said. “That’s a natural human reaction. Also there’s disappointment because you want to be your best for your teammates.
“So you’re disappointed because you feel like you let them down, but then at the same time you’re happy because this football team found a way to win. Tom had a huge day.”
O’Brien would not disclose who will start for the Texans on Saturday against the Bengals, saying, “We’ve got a short week and we’ll make decisions on anybody, any starter that we have. We make decisions on that every week.”
“We run a very competitive program no matter what people on the outside see or think, whatever,” O’Brien said. “We run a very competitive program here and we try to compete on the practice field and reward guys that earn it on the practice field. That’s what we’ll continue to do here.”
This season, Osweiler has completed 59.6 percent of his passes for 2,704 yards. He has thrown 14 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 14 games.
Savage had not taken a snap in a regular-season NFL game in more than two years. He said he was prepared to come into the game, saying, “I wouldn’t be suited up if I wasn’t mentally ready to go out there. That’s what this team deserves. They deserve someone to go in there and perform. And when they called my name, that’s what I tried to do.”
Fans booed Osweiler off the field and there were loud cheers when Savage entered the game.
Osweiler said regardless of the decision that is made about who will start on Sunday, he will prepare this week like he will be the starter.
“I think Coach O’Brien, the staff, obviously Rick Smith and everybody else I’m sure will have a conversation,” Osweiler said. “My job is just to be ready to play and to prepare like I’m going to play and if I start I start and I’m going to give this team everything I have performance-wise, and if I’m the backup I’m going to be there to support Tom.
“I’m going to coach him and do everything he asks of me, and ultimately I just want to be a great teammate and I want to do whatever it takes for this football team to win games.”