Brian Hoyer finished the 2015 season much like it began, as the Texans starting quarterback. However, on Sunday after the final game of the regular season, he was wearing an AFC South Champions hat.
Never mind that in between, there were quarterback changes, injuries, adversity, big wins, and devastating losses. After missing the last two games while dealing with his second concussion of the year, Hoyer returned to help lead the Texans to a 30-6 win over Jacksonville and their first playoff appearance since 2012.
"It's been a crazy year, but we've stayed the course," Hoyer said. "When we could have split apart, we really came together."
When he was benched after Week 1 against Kansas City, Hoyer admitted there was disappointment and anger, but he didn't let it affect his preparation and approach to the game. He channeled it all into staying ready for when his number would be called again.
Hoyer had faith in Bill O'Brien, who benched him but who also scouted him at Michigan State, convinced him to sign with the Patriots as an undrafted rookie, and then with the Texans as a free agent this offseason.
"I was just always staying ready," Hoyer said. "I never knew when that opportunity would come. It came a few weeks later and eventually, after the Colts game, I was back. I've had a long history with him (O'Brien) and we'll always be great friends. It was just one of those things that for me, dealing with that adversity, coming in every day and staying ready, and then having to come in and deal with the injuries and stuff like that, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Billy."
Hoyer, the Texans starting quarterback for the 2015 postseason, and is ready to embark on his first playoff appearance since 2011 when he was with New England.
"Having gone to the playoffs but as a backup, sure you've contributed, but you weren't the one out there on the field," Hoyer said. "So to be the guy who's helping contribute, and to be able to win and come back in that locker room and put that hat on, you really feel like we're part of something special."
Through 11 games and 9 nine starts, Hoyer has completed 60.7 percent of his passes for a single-season career highs in touchdowns (19), seven interceptions and a single-season career high passer rating of 91.4.
The Texans will host the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Wild Card game.