Even Tom Savage didn’t believe that he could replicate Deshaun Watson’s heroics. But he was forced to try after Watson’s spectacular season was cut short by an ACL injury on Thursday.
“That’s incredible man,” Savage said to Watson on the sideline last week after he scored a critical touchdown against Seattle. “I don’t know how you do that. I really don’t. I would have pulled every muscle in both of my groins if I tried to do that.”
For most of Houston’s game this Sunday against the lowly Colts, Savage played like he had two pulled groins. He finished 19-of-44 for a 43.2 percent completion rate and just 219 yards. Tom Savage is the biggest argument against nominative determinism in quarterback play.
Tom Savage Over The Middle... It's Incomplete: The Tom Savage Story— Shea Serrano (@SheaSerrano) November 5, 2017
Yet because the Colts are the Colts, and because they also ruled out their franchise quarterback for the season on Thursday, the Texans found themselves down six and driving for a potential game-winning touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Savage orchestrated a 13-play, 57-yard drive that took the Texans into the red zone, and suddenly Houston was on the verge of pulling out a win against a division rival without its star quarterback.
On second-and-4 from the 17-yard line, Savage found DeAndre Hopkins in the left corner of the end zone. Approximately 500,000 people shouted “Holy crap he did it!” in unison. Unfortunately, Hopkins wasn’t able to keep both feet in bounds. On the next play, Savage found Hopkins for a 10-yard gain that put the Texans at first-and-goal from the 7-yard line. Now, Houston had a goal-to-go situation down six points with under a minute left and time to run four plays. Tom Savage was in position to be Houston’s hero.
Savage’s first-down pass to receiver Bruce Ellington was incomplete. With 12 seconds left, Indianapolis called a timeout. On second down, Savage’s pass to tight end Stephen Anderson was incomplete. Seven seconds left. Timeout, Indianapolis. On third down, Savage quickly threw a pass over the middle of the end zone to DeAndre Hopkins, but cornerback Nate Hairston grabbed a fistful of Hopkins’s jersey, preventing a catch. On fourth-and-goal, with two seconds left in the game and down six points, Houston called its final timeout. Tom Savage would have one more opportunity to create a storybook ending.
Then, he fumbled. The Colts recovered, and won, 20-14, in a game that was representative of Houston’s entire existence as a franchise—just when something great is supposed to happen, hilarity ensues.