HOUSTON -- After benching quarterback Tom Savage for rookie Deshaun Watson at halftime of the Houston Texans' season-opening 29-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, head coach Bill O'Brien said he had not decided who will start Thursday night against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"I'll think about it a long time tonight and try to continue to work on Cincinnati, and we'll see what the best approach is versus them," O'Brien said.
Savage and the Texans' offense were shut out in the first half. Savage was unable to drive the offense down the field, going 7-of-13 for 62 yards. Watson led the Texans down the field on his first NFL drive, throwing his first career touchdown pass, a 4-yard pass, to DeAndre Hopkins. It was the team's only score of the game. Watson was 12-of-23 for 102 yards, an average of just 4.4 yards per pass; Savage averaged 4.8 yards per pass.
O'Brien said he made the decision to bench Savage because he was hoping to kickstart the offense after it struggled to start the game.
"The decision to go with Deshaun ... had more to do with, can we find a spark, could we find somebody that could maybe make a play, that could escape the pocket -- things like that," O'Brien said.
The Texans' quarterbacks didn't get much help from the offensive line, which allowed 10 sacks, six of which came in the first half. Jaguars DE Calais Campbell, playing in his first game with the team after signing in free agency, had 3.5 of those first-half sacks, which set the Jacksonville franchise record for sacks in a game. Campbell finished with four sacks.
The Texans named Savage the starter early in the offseason, and O'Brien stuck by that even after the team traded up in the first round to draft Watson. Savage outplayed Watson during training camp and the preseason, and O'Brien reiterated that Savage was his starting quarterback.