HOUSTON — Coach Gary Kubiak would've told anyone who asked that the Texans were going to be fine with rookie T.J. Yates playing quarterback.
He was right.
Yates threw for a touchdown in his first NFL start, Arian Foster rushed for 111 yards and Houston overcame another injury to Andre Johnson to beat Atlanta.
Houston has won a franchise-record six straight despite being down to a third-string quarterback and again losing its star receiver. The Texans' top-ranked defense knocked down two passes by Matt Ryan in the end zone in the closing seconds.
"It's a great win," Kubiak said, "because of everything this team has been through."
Yates went 12-for-25 for 188 yards without an interception, impressive after a dizzying week.
"I test my guys the night before every game," Kubiak said, "and when I tested him, I was so impressed. I went in there and told the whole team, 'I wish you could have been in there. He is ready to play.' "
The fifth-round pick from North Carolina made his pro debut last week in Jacksonville when Matt Leinart broke his collarbone. Leinart was replacing the injured Matt Schaub.
Yates, 24, was sacked three times by the Falcons, but he never looked overwhelmed.
"I was extremely comfortable out there," Yates said. "Coach Kubiak, throughout the week, we had a lot of talks and he instilled a lot of confidence in me."
But Johnson left in the third after hurting his left hamstring. He injured his right hamstring in Week 4, had minor surgery and sat out six games. Kubiak said he was told this injury was not severe.
Foster carried 10 times on Houston's decisive drive and scored on a 1-yard run with 6:05 left. Houston's defense finished.
Cornerback Kareem Jackson swatted away a pass to rookie receiver Julio Jones as time expired.
"I had the opportunity to make that play and I just had to come up with the catch," Jones said.