HOUSTON – T.J. Yates has become a household name in Houston and a cherished chapter in the Texans’ history book.
The 24-year-old rookie quarterback threw a six-yard touchdown pass against the Bengals Sunday to win the game and clinch the division championship.
"Winning the past couple of games has been a wild experience and just coming from where I was earlier in the season, and all the stuff that’s happened to the team happened so fast, and how we’ve been able as a team to keep going and keep winning is amazing," he said.
Yates said it was a bit challenging, but he’s used to dealing with pressure these days, at least on the field.
"I try to keep calm and I’ve tried my best throughout the last two weeks to keep my routine the same as I did before when I was just on the scout team," he said.
KHOU 11 News caught up with Yates Tuesday at an Academy store in southwest Houston. He and the rest of the rookies took 30 kids on a Christmas shopping spree.
Yates said he’s a bit more sore come Mondays, but he’s not complaining.
"I’m actually playing now so it’s a lot different than sitting on the sidelines, not even dressing up for a game. So my role has changed a lot on the team," said Yates.
Something else that will change for Yates this coming weekend is where his parents will sit and watch him play. On Sunday, in Cincinnati, they were way up at the tip-top of the stadium. You also saw his mother’s face buried in his father’s arm after the win.
"I’ll get them some better seats next time. They always give the opposing team the bad seats, the opposing team, that’s normal, they just so happened to get stuck two rows from the top," Yates said with a laugh.
As far as his mother’s emotional reaction after the game, Yates said that’s typical.
"She has always been like that in college. If it was a tight game, she would get up and walk the concourse or something. She usually couldn’t watch the game back then, so I was proud of her for staying in her seat," he said.
In his own words, T.J. Yates described himself as a "normal dude" who is enjoying the ride.
"I really enjoy not just being on the field, but hanging with the guys and enjoying the sport," he said.