HOUSTON — Houston Texans quarterback Tom Savage said he couldn’t let himself get discouraged by boos growing at NRG Stadium on Sunday as the offense sputtered early against Arizona.
“When you start to hear the boo-birds a little bit, you can either fold or go out there for your team and pull a win out,” Savage said. “That’s really all that matters is winning.”
In Houston’s 31-21 victory over the Cardinals, Savage had the best game of his career, completing 22 of 32 passes for 230 yards while throwing two touchdowns and an interception. He struggled to move the offense early, though, and the frustrated fans let him hear it.
“It’s an entertainment business,” Savage said. “They’re not booing me, they’re booing the product. If they met me, they wouldn’t boo me. They’d like me, I’m sure of it. At least, I hope.”
The fourth-year veteran out of Pittsburgh entered the season as the starter but was replaced by rookie first-round pick Deshaun Watson at halftime of the opener. After Watson’s sensational season was cut short by an ACL tear earlier this month, Savage again took over.
Savage’s immobility, inaccuracy and turnovers mounted in back-to-back losses to the Colts and Rams, but he finally got his first win of the season as the starter against Arizona.
He said even with the boos, having the support and trust from his teammates kept him confident in his abilities.
“I’m going to keep going out there and keep throwing the ball down the field,” Savage said. “I’m not going to get gun shy and get worried about getting booed or throwing an interception. I’m going to keep playing, and that’s what the guys deserve.
“The biggest regret in life is holding onto this thing too tight. You won’t regret going out there and ripping it.”
Improving his chemistry with receiver DeAndre Hopkins has helped. On 30 targets to Hopkins in his first two games back as starter, Savage completed 13 passes. On Sunday, he completed four of nine to Hopkins for 76 yards and a 28-yard touchdown.
“He’s the best that does it,” Savage said. “You really just have to keep it inbounds enough for him to make a play. He’s remarkable. He just goes out there, he’s the ultimate competitor, and that’s why I think he’s the best receiver in the league.”
Adding a second-quarter 7-yard touchdown pass to Lamar Miller, it was Savage’s first career multi-touchdown game in six starts. In four starts this season, Savage has completed 52.8 percent of his passes for 732 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions with seven fumbles.
Texans coach Bill O’Brien said he believes Savage’s fumbles under pressure in the pocket will improve with experience.
“I really feel good about the way Tom’s playing,” O’Brien said. “He’s doing a good job, he’s taking what the defense is giving him, and he needs to continue doing that.”