Gary Kubiak stayed as loyal as ever, stuck with Matt Schaub and got rewarded with a lifeless team in a 38-13 loss to the St. Louis Rams. So far the Houston Texans coach has employed the same tired, safe script for Schaub's quarterback replacement as well.
T.J. Yates remained the No. 2, Case Keenum remained inactive as the No. 3 quarterback and . . . well, things like Sunday happened.
When Schaub went out with an ankle injury after a hard Chris Long sack, the Texans could only turn to Yates. And Yates promptly went about showing why the idea of him as anything close to the Texans' clear-cut No. 2 never made much sense. Keenum clearly outplayed Yates for much of the preseason. But again, Kubiak and the Texans went with the safer call.
Yates throws two interceptions in his most extensive real-game action in two years, giving the Texans no chance to make the Rams game even close to respectable let alone mount a comeback attempt. That includes a Pick-6 that Schaub himself would shake his head at. On fourth-and-3 from the Rams' six-yard line, Yates tries to force a pass to a covered receiver — and St. Louis linebacker Alec Ogletree steps in front of it for an easy interception at the 2.
Ninety eight yards later, Ogletree is high stepping into the end zone for a 38-6 lead.
"I've got to be smarter with the ball," Yates says. "I tried to force it in there."
Yates wasn't done yet either. He threw another interception in the end zone on the very next possession. Two trips inside the St. Louis 15. Two interceptions that squelched even the slightest chance at a little momentum.
"We've got to find that extra spark," Yates says. "Wherever it is — that spark — we've got to find it."
It's hard to say the spark looks like it's in Yates. The third-year pro finished 11-of-15 for 87 yards — an average of only 5.8 yards per attempt. When someone asks directly if Keenum will be active for next week's game at 6-0 Kansas City, Kubiak doesn't come close to dismissing the notion.
"I have to wake up tomorrow and start from scratch with what we’re doing and then we’ll see where we go against Kansas City," Kubiak says. "Monday and Tuesday won’t be any different, from an evaluation standpoint than last week was.”
How much more do you need to see from T.J. Yates now?