Predictably, the statuesque quarterback struggled most of the afternoon, leading to boos from the Houston crowd.
It's hard to fault Texans fans who went from watching a dazzling scoring machine in Watson to a bungling bundle of bones in Savage.
At one point in the second half on Sunday, Savage was 9-of-28 passing for 96 yards. By any metric, 32 percent completion percentage is horrific. The fourth-year pro made his stat line look slightly less pathetic against a bad Colts defense that began to play soft with a big lead late. Savage completed 10 of his next 16 passes for 123 yards, including his first career TD toss. In the end, Savage came up short, taking a sack and fumbling to end the game.
Where Watson was a pocket-escaping magician who injected life into Houston's offense with deep bombs and throwing people open, Savage was the inverse. The 27-year-old continued to throw into double and triple coverage, couldn't lead receivers into space, had almost zero accuracy on deep balls, and often didn't give his receivers a chance to make a play by sailing passes out of bounds.
Savage likely won't take offense to the harsh criticism of his play; he was as tough on himself.
"It's probably the most frustrating game of my life," Savage said, via the Houston Chronicle. "It's just one of those deals that I just wasn't making the throws and guys were open. I'm not going to give you the politically correct answer and say like blah blah blah we can get better. No, I have to make the throws. I played like crap. That's what it is."
Added Savage: "Listen the throws out of bounds, that's frustrating for a quarterback, because you know you can make the throw. There are times where it's my guy, no guy type of throw and throwing to 'Hop' high and away from the safety. Just got to keep the ball in bounds and know I'm going to make plays. It's not my game, never has been my game, of chucking the ball five yards out of bounds. That's where the frustration comes from, because I know I'm better than that."
After four career starts -- one that lasted just two quarters to open this season -- we can't confidently say that Savage is better than that. With Watson out for the season, however, he's the man Houston is riding to whatever end this season holds.