Tom Savage

Tom Savage started the season opener, but was quickly replaced by Deshaun Watson.   This week their roles reversed and Savage replaced Watson after he suffered a torn ACL in practice.

Savage looked like a player lacking confidence and practice time. The former Pitt Panther looked uneasy in the pocket and was unable to settle down until the fourth quarter. He finished the first half completing 36 percent of his passes for 76 yards.

Most of the deception was missing from the offense since Savage is not nearly as mobile as Watson. This allowed the Colts defense to take away the center of the field and force Savage beat them on deep out routes and throws down the field. He seemed timid on the deep outs throwing the ball out of bound on five or six occasions. Savage frequently threw into double coverage luckily just avoiding a couple interceptions. The receivers were hung out to dry a few to many times and were crushed because of throws Savage should not have made.

Clock Management

After struggling most of the game the Texans offense finally found success in the fourth quarter. Savage led a three minute touchdown ending with a 34 yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins. The defense forced the Colts to punt giving them a chance.  The final drive of the game started on the Houston 20 yard line with 3:10 left on the clock and one timeout.

With 42 seconds left, the Texans had the ball on Indianapolis 17 yard line. Savage completed a 10 yard slant to Deandre Hopkins leaving them with a 1st and goal. The clock was still running after the Hopkins catch so there were two viable options. Run to the line of scrimmage and get a play off quickly, or call timeout.

The Texans did neither.

Savage was calling signals and directing the offense with around 23 seconds left on the clock. It took seven additional seconds for him to snap the ball leading to a incomplete pass to Stephen Anderson.

With 2nd and goal coming there were only 12 seconds remaining in the game. The time crunch narrowed the number of plays the Texans could run. The game ended with two additional Savage incompletions before ending with a sack-fumble to end the game.

The Texans still had opportunity to win after a sluggish first half and terrible clock management on 1st and goal. With Savage behind center, Bill O’Brien does not have the same margin of error to win games. These small issues can quickly become large with the lesser quarterback.

Defense loses the Plot

Late in third quarter, the Colts led the Texans 10-7 despite an abysmal offensive effort. The defense had provided Houston’s points when Lamarr Houston returned an Eddie Pleasant strip sack for a touchdown late in the second quarter. The defense did their part against the Colts minus one major mistake.

In the middle of the third quarter, the Colts started a drive on their own nine yard line. On 3rd and nine Jacoby Brissett hit T.Y. Hilton in stride on a crossing route. Hilton found daylight and broke into the open field with blocks from Jack Doyle and Chester Rodgers. 50 yards down the field Hilton found himself one-on-one with corner Kareem Jackson. Jackson lost his footing and reached for Hilton who was diving over him. Texans defensive backs Andre Hal and Eddie Pleasant assumed Hilton was down and began to walk back to the huddle.

Hilton realized he had not been touched and ran another 35 yards for a touchdown. The Texans defensive backs assumed Hilton was down with Hal running just inches from him when he was on the ground. This was a simple mistake, but cost this defense a very strong game. Omitting this play, the Texans could have given up only 13 points. This would have allowed a last minute field goal for the win. One play does not usually cost a team a win, but a basic oversight cost them the game.

Follow Scott Rader on Twitter @ScottRader_