HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans might have lost the battle in New England, but in the process, the team just might have found its general to lead them to many victories in the future.
Rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson was outstanding well beyond his years in nearly handing Bill Belichick’s Patriots their first-ever loss at home to a first-year QB.
Watson looked very much like the poised, accurate and creative force he was in guiding Clemson to the College Football Playoff title. This was the guy the Texans moved heaven and earth (technically two first-round picks) to select No. 12 overall back in April.
Even though his Hail Mary was harmlessly knocked away by the Patriots to seal New England’s 36-33 home win, Watson proved he belongs on the same field as Tom Brady. At least on this day, No. 4 in white nearly matched the future Hall of Famer.
Watson completed 22 of his 33 pass attempts, netting 301 yards. He matched two touchdowns with a pair of interceptions, proof that he is still a rookie making just his second career NFL start. Otherwise, he didn’t look like a greenhorn or a guy who couldn’t beat out Tom Savage over the summer.
He was crisp in delivering passes with the right amount of zip. Watson stayed on his toes and showed a keen awareness of the Patriots defense. He made things happen with his legs too, rushing for 41 yards but also extending several plays and stressing the defense by artfully dodging the rush.
He wasn’t perfect, but he was good enough to win against most teams. Asking a rookie to match Tom Brady’s five TDs is no easy task, but Watson darn near pulled it off.
For his strong play, Watson earns our Texans’ player of the game honor.
© 2018 USATODAY.COM