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Deshaun Watson named Texans’ starter for Week 2 against Bengals

It’s the rookie’s time to shine.

New England Patriots v Houston Texans Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The writing was on the wall when Tom Savage was benched for Deshaun Watson midway through the Jaguars’ absolute rout of the Texans in Week 1. Now it’s official: Watson will be the Texans’ starter in Week 2 against the Bengals, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and James Palmer.

Why are the Texans making a change at QB? Savage was named the starter heading into the season, but things changed when the Jaguars were able to sack him six times in the first half on Sunday. Savage completed 7 of 13 passes for 62 yards and fumbled twice. O’Brien pulled him and let Watson get his first NFL action.

Against that relentless Jacksonville pass rush, Watson fared only slightly better. He took four sacks and went 12-of-23 for 102 yards, a touchdown, a fumble, and an interception. But the Texans’ line is a mess without left tackle Duane Brown, who is currently holding out for a new contract. Watson is more mobile than Savage, and at least he was able to get the team into the end zone against Jacksonville.

Watson took first-team reps for Houston at Tuesday’s practice, but Bill O’Brien said that he was still deciding about the starter for Sunday. Apparently that was just a smokescreen, because the news broke Tuesday evening that Watson would get the nod.

He was limited with an ankle injury early in the week, which was a concern, especially with the quick turnaround for a Thursday night showdown. But Watson’s ankle is ready to go, and he’ll get the start.

The Bengals are a good opponent for Watson in his first week as a starter. Marvin Lewis’ teams are 0-3 against first-time starters.

The Texans had initially planned to give Watson time to develop behind Savage, but Savage’s play changed everything. Now the decision has been made, and the Texans will move forward with the rookie.