Pokes in the NFL: Brandon Weeden Comes Off the Bench To Spark Texans Victory


Former Oklahoma State quarterback and current Houston Texans third-stringer Brandon Weeden came off the bench to engineer a 16-10 Houston Texans victory Sunday on the road against the Indianapolis Colts.

Weeden, who was cast off from the Dallas Cowboys in mid-November, joined the Texans shortly after in a third string role behind Brian Hoyer and T.J. Yates. Hoyer was out for Sunday’s game with a concussion. Yates would go down with just under two minutes left in the first half with an ACL injury.

Weeden then entered the game, and completed four straight passes to set up what would be a crucial field goal just before halftime. He would later lead the team on another field goal drive of 46 yards, which he then bested by engineering a 10-play, 90-yard drive that ended with this touchdown pass to Jaelen Strong that gave the Texans the lead for good:

The 32-year old QB finished with a modest final stat line of 11-18 for 105 yards and that touchdown. Still, he appeared calm and collected throughout the game, and made the right decisions down the stretch to get the victory, which put the Texans atop the AFC South with a 7-7 record. With Yates done for the season, and Hoyer’s status still up in the air, Weeden suddenly finds himself in a critical position yet again, this time a few hours south of his former team.

“I didn’t have time to panic,” Weeden said after the game. “I was thinking about the drive. I was thinking about the situation. I hurt for T.J. but a backup quarterback has to be ready.”

While Weeden didn’t wow anyone during his time in Dallas, there were plenty who blamed his conservative passing game on the Dallas coaches, which Weeden himself hinted at a few times. His performance on Sunday was admirable for a quarterback with one month in the system, but that’s just the type of play one should expect from a QB with sizable experience.

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  • Texans coach Bill O’Brien liked what he saw.

    “He’s a pro, he acts like a pro, he carries himself like a pro, he is a pro,” O’Brien said. “Look, I’m not sure he has the whole offense down pat, but I think he has enough that he can go in there and function.”

    For whatever reason, Weeden has thrived as an in-game replacement for a starting quarterback, but is much less effective when he’s the actual starter. Consider the situations though: a few seasons on an awful Cleveland team, and a few games on a Dallas Cowboys team that limited him to checkdowns and short post routes while also failing him defensively in games against New Orleans and Atlanta. It will be interesting to see what he can do with a full week of preparation on a new team that hopefully won’t limit his strengths.

    We’ll find out next week. Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys lost Tony Romo again, benched the player they brought in to replace Weeden in Matt Cassel, and are now starting Kellen Moore while spiraling towards missing the playoffs. Perhaps Weeden will have the last laugh when all is said and done, on a playoff-bound team nonetheless. Sunday was certainly a good sign.