Despite Sunday’s devastating loss in the final minute to Tom Brady and the Patriots, hope has been revitalized because Houston’s quarterback search looks to be finally over. Deshaun Watson put on performance on the road in a stadium where Texans quarterbacks have made a mockery of not only the team, but the city of Houston too.
Texans finally get it right at QB with Deshaun Watson
It is still sinking in that the Texans actually have a quarterback with his ability to avoid the rush, extend plays, and remain composed through it all to still complete a pass to the open man. In the 3rd quarter he avoided five Patriots rushers and they all at some point fell to the ground trying to get a hold of Watson, on this play Watson found D’Onta Foreman for a 30 yard gain.
This adds a huge layer to the Texans offense because opposing defenses are going to have to be on constant alert and not let up on their coverage or else they will be at risk of giving up plays.
Another refreshing phase of Deshaun Watson’s game is his athleticism and vision while running as a ball carrier. We saw it against the Bengals when he scored the only touchdown of the game on his 49 yd rushing TD. Again, most quarterbacks would be forced to get rid of the ball, or take a sack but Watson has shown that when there is nothing there he can get the first down himself.
Watson’s speed and agility when changing directions makes him difficult to take down, NFL defenders are still adjusting to him. He has also been able to rush the ball but still be able to slide or fall down to avoid unnecessary punishment. Robert Griffin III (RG3) was never able to learn this skill and constantly took big hits when he decided to run. Again, Watson rushing ability is another dimension that this offense desperately needs, especially with poor offensive line play.
O’Brien has received a lot of deserved criticism, but he deserves a little credit on his play-action heavy offense that allowed some things to open up for Watson. Watson sells the hand-off very well and the defense is forced for freeze for a moment to decipher the play allowing receivers to get separation they need.
Something to looking forward with Watson as a passer is that he is comfortable with throwing to spots and areas away from the defender. He did this on the touchdown passes to Bruce Ellington and Ryan Griffin.
Watson looked towards the sideline to Hopkins which caused Devin McCourty to step in that direction, which allowed for a more secure TD pass to Ellington. Ellington had to reach back a little bit for the reception but that may have been a matter of Watson not wanting McCourty to recover and bet able to knock the ball away.
The pass to Ryan Griffin was a thing of beauty, and it was nice seeing Griffin come alive for some big receptions.
It was encouraging seeing J.J. Watt picking up where he left off, starting the Pats game with back to back tackles for loss. As the game went on Watt was met with a lot of double teams which neutralized him. In week 1, Watt looked like though his best days were clearly behind him but I think it is safe to say Watt rapidly playing himself back to his DPOY level, even with a broken finger.
The Texans defense as a whole was being very physical, K. Jackson, A. Hal, and J. Joseph all laid out big hits. The front seven got after Tom Brady and roughed him up, but they needed a little more this group to overcome the big plays that were given up by the secondary.
As was the case in the playoff game against the Patriots back in January, Tom Brady was able complete back breaking passes by seemingly throwing up a prayer and letting his receiver come down with the ball.
Part of the issue in this game is that safeties J, Banks and M. Gilchrist are still new to the team, but against Brady there is a need for a good “center field’ type safety with the ball skills to make him pay for those gambles.