Sep 13, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Ryan Mallett (15) throws during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
After a long training camp, the close quarterback battle ended with Brian Hoyer being named the starter. Well…. that lasted less than one regular season game. After struggling out of the gate at home against the Kansas City Chiefs, Brian Hoyer was pulled by head coach Bill O’Brien and replaced by Ryan Mallett. Just minutes ago, Ryan Mallett was named the starting quarterback for this weekend’s match up with the Carolina Panthers.
Before being replaced last week at home, Brian Hoyer played 59 snaps while completing 52.9% of his passes for 236 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Pro Football Focus graded him with a below average -.4 score.
He did not look comfortable in the offense at all, but he also was not aided by his supporting cast. The running backs where average, the receiving corp combined for multiple drops (including a very rare drop by DeAndre Hopkins), and the offensive line played below expectation. Hoyer was hit as he threw at the second highest rate of week one and was sacked 4 times. It was hard to get anything going against that tough Kansas City front seven.
Ryan Mallett came in with about 6 minutes remaining while trailing 27 to 9. It is hard to trust these numbers because the game was essentially already over when he entered and he only played 18 snaps. But here they are: 61.5% passing, 98 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He also faced less pressure and was only sacked once and never hit as he threw. Pro Football Focus graded his performance with a slightly above average score of .8.
The best thing about Mallett’s performance was the energy that came with him controlling the offense. The quarterback change united the team and they were able to move the ball because of it. Even if Mallett is prone to turning the ball over, it looked like Mallett will be able to put more points on the board this year than Hoyer could.
However, this battle is nowhere near over. If Hoyer lost his job within 54 minutes of the regular season, Mallett can just as easily lose his starting spot. Things do not start off easy for the ex-Razorback as the Texans head into Carolina to play one of the premiere defenses. It wouldn’t be surprising if Brian Hoyer enters into the game within the near future.