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The play, and potential, of rookie quarterback T.J. Yates was the main topic of discussion all week long heading into the contest against Atlanta. The 2011 fifth-round pick from North Carolina guided the Texans' offense to a victory, as he finished with 188 passing yards and a quarterback rating of 86.8. He threw a second-quarter touchdown pass to tight end Joel Dreessen to give the Texans a 10-0 advantage, and he didn't turn the ball over.
"I'm happy, I'm proud of him," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "He did a hell of a job. He handled the football team very well."
Yates' teammates were complimentary as well, and tight end Owen Daniels was impressed with the rookie's demeanor.
"He's so cool in the huddle, so confident in the huddle, ever after he's taken hits," Daniels said. "I know he was getting coached up hard, but you've got to go out there and do the job. He handled it really well."
Yates and the offense chewed up nearly 11 minutes during a 19-play, 85-yard scoring drive that began near the end of the third quarter, and bled into the middle of the fourth. The Arian Foster touchdown to cap it was nice, but so was the bit of rest it gave the defense.
"Drive of the game, probably drive of the year," linebacker Brooks Reed said. "I thought T.J. handled that awesome. That's what the defense needed: a big breather."
The extent of how well Yates played individually on Sunday might be up for debate to some, but when asked to grade out the rookie's performance, running back Ben Tate put it simply.
"I would give him a W for the win," Tate said. "That's all that matters."
Loud CrowdAccording to a few members of the Texans' defense, the fans inside Reliant Stadium were a big help in getting a victory. Several times, Atlanta quarterback had to audible, and that task was made a bit more difficult by the decibel level inside.
"Matt Ryan couldn't even get his audibles," linebacker Connor Barwin said. "If you saw him, he was having to walk to each single lineman and tell them the play. That makes a huge difference."
Linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who joined the club in 2006, said he's never heard a more boisterous group in the stands.
"We definitely had a homefield advantage," Ryans said. "Hands down this is loudest I've ever heard the stadium."
Corner Johnathan Joseph gave the fans a "shoutout" after the win, and appreciated their volume.
According to Barwin, the defense unofficially gained a new official nickname, courtesy of a popular Rage Against the Machine song.
"I think it's official that 'Bulls on Parade' is the new name of this defense," Barwin proclaimed. "Every time they played that song, the crowd was like a 12th man."