The Houston Texans gave Tom Savage the keys to the offense for their Week 1 showdown with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and it took him just two quarters to drop those suckers down a sewer grate, leaving Deshaun Watson to fish them out. Savage bequeathed the Clemson rookie a 19-point deficit and some pretty normal-sized shoes to fill, which Watson promptly did by throwing a touchdown pass on his first drive. Although Watson then cooled down considerably and the Texans went on to lose 29-7, we shouldn’t expect Savage to reclaim his starting job. But rather than ridicule the Texans quarterback, who was making his second (and perhaps final) NFL start, we should look back fondly on his achievements, of which there are some (depending on how you define the word achievement).
Savage took six sacks and fumbled twice on Sunday afternoon, which is a lot of sacks and fumbles for a half of football, particularly a half of football played against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It takes some quarterbacks weeks to rack up those kinds of numbers, but Savage, like a supernova, burned bright for an achingly brief amount of time.
Playing quarterback is remarkably difficult, and fans can be guilty of forgetting this. Thanks to Savage’s anemic first half—one in which he completed only seven passes and led the Texans to zero points—we have been reminded once again of this awful truth. If a professional football player has that much trouble behind center, imagine how poorly a surgeon or an Academy Award-winning sound engineer would do in that situation. Not any better than Tom Savage, who can now retire knowing he's accomplished more on the football field than Joseph Lister or Ben Burtt ever did.
And regarding Watson’s touchdown pass: As everybody knows, benched quarterbacks spend much of their time charting defenses on the sideline. Allow me to be the first to say: Nice charting, Mr. Savage.
There are plenty of ways to judge a quarterback’s career. Passing statistics. Wins and losses. Championship glories and failures. It can be years, even decades, before the NFL cognoscenti truly understand the legacy of a gridiron warrior. Savage, however, allowed us to write up his career retrospective during halftime of the season’s first game. Talk about efficiency!
Savage may not lead the Texans to a Super Bowl, but he is in the record books (for having existed). If that’s not worth a statue outside NRG Stadium, I don’t know what is. Seriously, statue protocols have become increasingly difficult to keep track of state by state, and I can’t tell whether or not the commissioning of a Tom Savage monument would be appropriate. He displayed futility in an extremely bad loss, so I say let's build the sucker.