The Texans fear quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick fractured his leg during today’s game against the division rival Colts, and believe his season is over, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Fitzpatrick had to be carted off the field during the second quarter of the contest, and an air cast was placed on his leg, which normally forebodes a serious injury. Fourth-round rookie Tom Savage took over as Houston’s signal-caller.
Fitzpatrick, 32, signed a two-year, $7.25MM deal with the Texans during the offseason, and began the year as the staring quarterback under new head coach Bill O’Brien. He led the club to 4-5 record, while completing roughly 61% of his passes for 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions, before ceding the QB role to Ryan Mallett. Mallett started just two games before tearing his pectoral and being placed on injured reserve, at which point Houston turned back to Fitzpatrick, who responded by throwing six touchdown passes against the Titans last week.
The Texans will hand the reins to Savage for the rest of the year — with the team’s loss to Indianapolis, their playoff odds (already at 6.1% per Football Outsiders before today’s game) will tumble to practically zero. Looking forward, it will be interesting to how Houston fills the quarterback position in 2015. Fitzpatrick probably won’t be asked to start again next season, and although the club would carry just $625K in dead money if it cuts the veteran, his $3.25MM base salary wouldn’t be exorbitant for an experienced backup. Mallett is a free agent at season’s end, but the Texans have expressed interest in re-signing him for 2015. Meanwhile, Savage will can now use the final two games as audition of sorts, in an attempt to work his way into the starting conversation.
Houston signed journeyman Thad Lewis in late-November, so he’ll presumably act as the No. 2 QB for the remainder of the season. The Texans don’t have another quarterback on their 53-man roster or on their practice squad, so it’s possible that they’ll sign someone before next week’s game against the Ravens.