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T.J. Yates cleared of concussion, sends Taylor Heinicke back to Texans’ bench

The Old Dominion product made his NFL debut on Christmas

Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images

Texans starting quarterback T.J. Yates left Monday’s game against the Steelers while he was evaluated for a concussion. Taylor Heinicke, an undrafted free agent in 2015 who spent his first three years in the NFL without making a single game appearance, took his spot in the lineup.

Yates was hit hard on one of the final plays of the first half, remaining on the turf before jogging to the sideline. He was evaluated throughout halftime, but not cleared to return to the game, extending Heinicke’s cameo into a full drive to start the second half.

Heinicke’s day started well enough. His first NFL pass was a seven-yard completion to Will Fuller. However, a 17-yard loss on third-and-7 ended his first drive without any points.

That would shut the door on his first NFL opportunity, as Yates was cleared to return to the field soonafter.

That was good timing for Houston, as Heinicke would be taken to the locker room and evaluated for a concussion of his own after that painful sack.

What this means for the Texans: Houston gets its starting quarterback back, but it might not make a difference. Heinicke was more accurate that Yates in his brief audition, but Houston’s quarterbacks have combined for -1 total yards between them.