The Texans looked like a legitimate Super Bowl contender with Matt Schaub. Given the high quality of the Texans' defense (ranked 2nd overall) and running game (42% run success rate), the Texans still looked like an above average team. However, the situation presented to T.J. Yates with 2:33 to go at Cincinatti was precisely the one which is supposed to sink Houston under Yates down the stretch and into the playoffs: down by six points with 80 yards to go on the road.
Yates was actually having a solid game entering the final drive, completing 20-of-32 passes with a touchdown and an interception, a solid +0.36 WPA and +7.0 EPA. He turned it into overdrive in the final drive and particularly the final minute:
Although nobody believes that Yates is a better quarterback than Schaub -- nor should they -- based on two games, the Texans' rookie has stepped up big time in his new role. He now owns a +0.33 WPA per game and a +0.23 EPA per play, both numbers which surpass Schaub's full-season numbers and would rank in the top-four quarterbacks in the league. If Yates can maintain even a fraction of this performance going forward, the Texans will remain a force to be reckoned with as December turns to January and the playoffs begin.