FOXBORO, Mass. — The Houston Texans suffered a crushing 36-33 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday at Gillette Stadium, but it was to no fault of Deshaun Watson.
In just his second NFL start, the 22-year-old quarterback put on an absolute show against the defending Super Bowl champions. Watson completed 22 of his 33 pass attempts for 301 yards with two touchdowns, while also racking up eight carries for 41 rushing yards.
It didn’t take long for Watson to show off his arm and impressive accuracy. In the final minutes of the first quarter, the Clemson product threaded the needle on a beautiful 29-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington.
And if that’s not enough to impress you, check out this absolute seed of a 12-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Griffin in the third quarter.
While Watson’s arm is impressive, it’s his legs that really get the fans out of their seats. The versatile QB’s shiftiness and elusiveness was on full display late in the fourth quarter as he managed to evade four Patriots defenders.
Watson’s heroics looked to be enough to lift the Texans to a comeback win as they led the Patriots 33-24 with 2:44 remaining in the fourth quarter. That was until Tom Brady got his hands on a football, and marched New England down the field for the go-ahead touchdown with 23 seconds remaining in regulation.
After the game, Watson dumbed down his strong performance and chalked the tough loss up as a learning experience.
“It was decent,” Watson said of his outing. “Got to capitalize in the red zone. (You) can’t give Tom Brady the ball back with that much time and we’ll learn from it.”
Watson has shown nothing but promise through his first two starts, and he’s already drawing considerable praise from some of the Texans’ star players.
“I thought he played phenomenal,” J.J. Watt said of the rookie QB “He did a great job. You see what he can do with his legs and get’s himself out of tough situations. He can make plays. He’s only going to get better with time. He’s going to be very good in this league.”
Jadeveon Clowney added: “He’s a good player, man. The guy is great. I think he’s going to be a great player for the Texans organization. He’s helping the offense out. With him being out there, we think we can move the ball with that guy up and down the field. We’re confident in him, the whole team’s behind him, so we’re just going to keep cheering him on.”
Watson even garnered a series of compliments from one of the Patriots’ most respected veterans.
“That dude is a slippery quarterback,” defensive lineman Alan Branch said. “He was able to work the pocket really well and when the big plays needed to be made he somehow figured out a way to make them. He made 8 yards when he needed 7 or make the right pass when he slipped out of a couple sack opportunities. It was really frustrating as a defensive front just seeing that they had him right in their grasp and not quite be able to finish.”
There’s no reason not to expect Watson to make frequent appearances on highlight reels for the duration of the 2017 season.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images