For the second time in his career, T.J. Yates left the field in Cincinnati a winner.
The Texans quarterback entered the game late in the third quarter in place of Brian Hoyer, who was evaluated for a concussion. On Yates' first drive under center, he guided the offense 79 yards on nine plays, and found DeAndre Hopkins for a 22-yard touchdown with 14:27 remaining in the game.
It gave the Texans a 10-6 advantage that would hold up, and the victory pushed the Texans to within a game of.500 at 4-5. For Yates, staying calm was a key. The last time he was under center in a regular season win was at Paul Brown Stadium in December of 2011.
"Lotta good memories in Cincinnati and I'm just glad that we came out of here with a win," Yates said.
In just over a quarter of play, the fifth-year pro finished 5-of-11 for 69 passing yards and the scoring strike to Hopkins. On that touchdown, Yates kept it simple.
"When all else fails, throw it up to 'Hop," Yates said. "That's the only thing I was thinking. He had a good matchup, one-on-one, and Hop made an unbelievable catch."
Hopkins snared it with one hand, trapped against his chest, and managed to get both feet in bounds for the score on the left side of the end zone. It was the same end zone, coincidentally, Yates found Kevin Walter nearly four years ago.
"I've done it before," Yates said. "I just made sure I was prepared to do this. This week my number was called and I made it happen."
His head coach was impressed by the performance on Monday night. Yates rejoined the Texans before Week 8, and in that time has done good things in Bill O'Brien's eyes.
"He's a pro," O'Brien said. "He came back in here, had great recall of our offense when he got back here, he had a really good demeanor."
Yates was very quick to credit "a great defense" as the deciding factor in the win. That was fitting, as defensive end J.J. Watt remarked to Yates when the two crossed paths at the postgame podium, that it felt "like 2011".
He and the Texans host the Jets on Sunday at NRG Stadium.
Check out the action from the Texans at Bengals Monday Night Football matchup.