HOUSTON — Brian Hoyer has his job back as Houston's starting quarterback.
Hoyer won the job out of camp but was pulled in the fourth quarter of a season-opening loss to the Chiefs after committing two turnovers. Ryan Mallett has started since then, but he has struggled and Hoyer took over in both of the last two games as the Texans fell to 1-4.
Hoyer replaced Mallett in the second quarter on Thursday night and threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted by Mike Adams with less than 2 minutes left to help seal the Colts' 27-20 victory.
The Texans have 10 days before they'll try to get back on track when they travel to Jacksonville on Oct. 18.
Although O'Brien is going with Hoyer against the Jaguars, he wouldn't commit to anything beyond that.
"It's 11 one-game seasons so he's the starter for Jacksonville," O'Brien said. "I think over the last two games he's gone in there with a really good attitude, with a calmness about him, with really good mechanics. Has he been perfect? No. But I think that ... overall he's played pretty well."
Mallett helped Houston to its only win in his second start when he threw a touchdown pass, but also had an interception in a 19-9 victory over Tampa Bay.
His struggles continued in a 48-21 loss to Atlanta when he threw an interception and didn't lead the Texans to any points before Hoyer took over. Hoyer threw two touchdown passes and directed three scoring drives late against a Falcons defense that had pulled most of its starters. O'Brien stuck with Mallett, starting him again on Thursday — and the results were much the same.
A pass deflected by Arian Foster was intercepted on Houston's first drive on Thursday and Mallett was unable to get the Texans any points on the next two drives either. He took an illegal hit to the ribs on Houston's next possession, forcing him out of the game.
Hoyer came in and Mallett was fine a couple of minutes later, but O'Brien went with Hoyer for the rest of the game. Mallett was not happy about the decision and appeared to be moping on the sidelines.
"Ryan's a competitor and he wants to play, but we have to do what's best for the team and that's what we think is best for the team right now," O'Brien said.
O'Brien has liked the way Hoyer has played in the two games since the season opener, when he seemed a bit tight.
"There's no position that's more important than quarterback when it comes to consistency," O'Brien said. "Over the last however many quarters he's played (Hoyer's) been a consistent player for us."
Notes: Along with their quarterback switch, the Texans are also dealing with another injury to last year's top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, though this one doesn't seem serious. He had a walking boot on his right ankle in the locker room on Friday, but O'Brien said he's OK and should play against the Jaguars. Clowney played just four games as a rookie last season because of various injuries before season-ending microfracture surgery. He was injured early in Thursday night's game, but missed only a couple of plays before returning to the field. ... The Texans should get receiver Cecil Shorts back for the next game after he sat out Thursday with a shoulder injury, but Nate Washington (hamstring) is day to day.