Former Pitt quarterback Tom Savage had a great opportunity in front of him on Sunday, as he was given a second chance at the Houston Texans starting job after Deshaun Watson snatched it from him in Week 1. On top of that, his opponents were the Indianapolis Colts, who had struggled against the pass coming into the game.
However, Savage blinked.
With Watson out for the season after suffering a torn ACL in practice last Thursday, Savage was handed the reins and appeared to have a real shot against one of the weakest teams in the league. Instead, he connected on just 19 of his 44 passes and could only muster one scoring drive late in the game.
While that drive resulted in the long-awaited first touchdown pass of Savage’s career, it didn’t win the game. After he found receiver DeAndre Hopkins for the 34-yard score, the Texans were still down 20-14 with just over six minutes to go.
They would regain possession and drive all the way from their own 20 to the Colts’ 7-yard line, and the ball would be snapped to Savage on 4th-and-goal with two seconds left on the clock.
And then, the Texans quarterback would drop back and be strip-sacked by none other than Colts linebacker and Pitt product Jabaal Sheard. Barkevious Mingo would recover the fumble for the Colts to seal the game.
During his postgame press conference, Savage sounded understandably upset.
“It’s just probably the most frustrating game of my life,” he said. “Guys were open, and I'm not going to give you the politically correct answer and say blah, blah, blah and we can get better. I've got to make the throws. I played like crap."
The loss knocks the Texans down to 3-5 on the season and leaves them with a narrow lead over the 3-6 Colts in the AFC South. And things don’t get easier for Savage and the Texans from here, either.
Next, they’ll hit the road to face former Pitt star Aaron Donald and a Los Angeles Rams team that bulldozed its last two opponents, earning an average margin of victory of 33.5 points.