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Tom Savage will start at QB for Texans vs Bengals

Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage
Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage (Getty Images)

HOUSTON – Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien announced Monday afternoon that Tom Savage will take over as starting quarterback Saturday at home against the Bengals.

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O'Brien benched Brock Osweiler after two interceptions in the first half Sunday against the Jaguars and brought in Savage, who led the team to a 21-20 comeback victory.

He said he made the announcement Monday in order to give Savage a full week to prepare for Saturday night's home game against Cincinnati.

"I want to see (from Savage) a continued performance from what he did against Jacksonville," O'Brien said. "The quarterback is judged by two things in this league. He's judged by wins and getting his team into the end zone."

He said Osweiler handled the demotion like a pro.

"It's all about football. It's a football decision," he said. "You're thinking about 63 guys. It's not about one individual. It's about the team."

When asked if Savage would also start in the last game of the season on the road in Tennessee, O'Brien would only discuss Saturday's game.

The Texans (8-6) are tied with the Titans (8-6) for the division lead, with the Colts (7-7) one game back. The Texans hold the tiebreaker over both teams with a better division record (5-0).

Tight end Ryan Griffin was one of several players who seemed to shine with Savage under center on Sunday.

When asked about the quarterback battle Monday, Griffin said, "Sometimes you need changes. Something different. I think you really felt that in the crowd as well, and I think we just rallied around that."

Griffin knows first-hand the next man up mentality, as he took over as the starter with C.J. Fiedorowicz out with a concussion. Griffin had 8 catches for 85 yards in Sunday's 21-20 win.

In the locker room on Monday, Griffin spoke highly of Savage and what he brought to the game.

"Calm, cool, collected. But confident. He doesn't have to say much, but he puts the ball where it needs to be," Griffin said.

In his three years with Houston, Savage has the earned respect of the locker room. He and Griffin are especially familiar with one another.

"I was a second string tight end and I worked a lot with him. I know the type of guy he is and we really rally around him," Griffin said.

Osweiler has thrown for 2,704 yards with 14 TDs and 16 interceptions in 14 games this season. His 71.4 quarterback rating is second to last in the league.