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Texans name Tom Savage starting QB vs. Bengals

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Texans coach Bill O'Brien told reporters Monday that Tom Savage will be the team's starting quarterback for Saturday's Week 16 battle against the Bengals.

"Feel like Tom Savage gives us the best chance to win," O'Brien said. "... There's a lot for him to improve on, but I thought he threw the ball well yesterday."

O'Brien did not indicate that Savage was guaranteed to start in the Texans' regular-season finale against the Titans.

Savage led the Texans to a 21-20 win over the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday after coach Bill O'Brien benched Brock Osweiler following back-to-back drives that ended in interceptions. Houston trailed 13-0 when Savage entered the contest.

"I have a lot of respect for Brock Osweiler," O'Brien said. "He's done everything we've asked of him. It's just the nature of the business."

Savage finished 23-of-36 passing for 260 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. The backup led the Texans on five scoring drives to notch the win and most notably protected the football.

Whereas Osweiler proved reticent to stretch the field this season, Savage displayed a willingness to press deep and intermediate routes. Savage also got star receiver DeAndre Hopkins more involved in the offense. Nuk earned eight receptions for 87 yards with Savage in the game. The receiver seemed to gain a pep in his step after the quarterback change.

Not getting Hopkins involved has been one of Osweiler's major flaws this season. On Sunday, Osweiler was 0-2 when targeting Hopkins, including one interception. The Pro Bowl receiver had fewer than 75 receiving yards and two touchdowns in his previous 11 games with Brock under center.

Savage was drafted in the fourth round by O'Brien in 2014. The third-year pro's familiarity with the offense should be a benefit to the Texans as they attempt to clinch the AFC South for the second straight season.

Sticking with Savage is not a surprise. Osweiler kept the starting gig far longer than his play deemed him worthy. The big contract might have given Brock rope, but with the playoffs on the line, the Texans will do what is best for the offense by handing the reins to Savage.

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