Tom Savage's night got a lot better in the second half.
After the first thirty minutes of the Texans' 12-10 victory over the Bengals, he'd completed 2-of-7 passes for 13 yards, was sacked three times, and his team trailed 3-0.
For the final thirty minutes, he was 16-of-22 for 163 passing yards, and the Texans put a dozen points on the scoreboard to triumph and clinch the AFC South.
All it took was a simple relaxation technique, and the knowledge of his defense's capabilities.
"I think it was just taking a deep breath, realizing what we have on defense and what they're doing for us," Savage said. "All week it's just, 'protect the ball and let's find a way to win'. That's just what we did. The guys really rallied around me once again and made some huge plays for me."
All six first half possessions ended in punts, and four of those six were 3-and-outs. After the intermission, though, Savage guided the offense on five drives, and three resulted in scores. Head coach Bill O'Brien described what switched from the first half to the second for Savage.
"We went to no-huddle," O'Brien said. "He's a passer. We've got to get him into a rhythm. I felt like we got him into a rhythm."
The first drive after the break went 68 in 11 plays, and burned 5:55 off the clock. It was capped by a Nick Novak field goal from 25 yards out, which equalized the score at 3-3.
Savage and company drove for another field goal on the ensuing drive, going 12 plays and 49 yards, and the Texans were up 6-3 with 13:31 left in the final quarter.
Receiver DeAndre Hopkins said Savage was unflappable.
"He was relaxed the whole game," Hopkins said. "There are some things that he can't control that happened,
but he kept his head in there, stayed in the pocket, took some hits, made some great throws like the end-cut to me."
The game-winning score came on an Alfred Blue 24-yard run with 8:41 left, and it was the exclamation point on a 4-play drive that devoured 75 yards in just 2:04.
Savage was happy with the win, but wants to put the ball in the end zone more than once per game.
"It starts with me," Savage said. "I'm glad we got it going but I think ultimately we've got to put some more points up for the defense and make it a little bit easier on them."
Savage and the Texans face the Titans next Sunday in Nashville.
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