It would appear Houston head coach Bill O’Brien has finally discovered the plan to elevate Tom Savage to becoming an average NFL quarterback. Although the Texans lost to the Not-The-Oilers this past Sunday, Savage actually was part of the potential solution – until he became a problem at the very end.
To set the baseline, Tom Savage went 31 of 49 for 365 yards, one score, and one pick. Pro Football Focus graded him at 69.1, which put him just above average on the day.
So how did O’Brien make Savage “successful”?
Simple. He waited until the receiving corps, tight end group and offensive line were so decimated that he had to simplify the playbook so radically it more resembled a group of school kids playing a game of pickup on the playground. After that, O’Brien removed any option for Savage other than “throw to DeAndre Hopkins” and “throw to Stephen Anderson”. He then made sure the plays he called wouldn’t allow for Savage to do anything else and hoped for the best.
In a world where Houston’s defense wasn’t so decimated with injuries that it could hold the Not-The-Oilers’ mediocre offense in check, Tom Savage’s performance would have been good enough for a Houston win.
Or at least it should have.
In fact, if it wasn’t for Savage’s poor decision to try and force the final turnover of the game into double coverage, Houston might have pulled this one out anyway.
Had Deshaun Watson been on the field, we might very well have seen a repeat of the 57-14 thrashing the Texans laid on the Not-The-Oilers last time they met.
Let’s face it – Houston is a good team decimated by injuries of historic proportions and Tennessee, should they make it to the postseason, will be decimated by whomever they face in the Wild Card round of the AFC Playoffs. The game was like watching a battle between a lion nursing life-threatening wounds and a hyena who was too busy biting its own fleas to take advantage of multiple opportunities to kill the lion once and for all.
Tom Savage put together what, on paper, might be remembered as his greatest performance as a Houston Texan…up until that late interception. Too bad stats are only icing on victories and not value adds to losses against clearly inferior teams.
At least Bill O’Brien now knows, if he wants to get the most out of Tom Savage for the rest of the year, he should bench WRs2 through WR4, TEs2 through TE3, line up a few running backs as wideouts, and chop all but one branch off Tom Savage’s passing trees. Oh, and maybe not line Jeff Allen up at left tackle, or right tackle, or right guard, or anywhere else actually on the field while the play clock is running…