Wat­son watch:

Could big day in loss be QB’s break­out?

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - INSIDE - Lind­say H. Jones USA TO­DAY Sports

With only a hand­ful of NFL games to his name, the Tex­ans’ dy­namic De­shaun Wat­son may be rewrit­ing a rookie QB’s stan­dards. Fan­tasy rank­ings, Page 7 Week 8 pre­views, Pages 8-20 Wa­ger­ing tips, Page 24

For even longer than the Le­gion of Boom has been a thing in Seat­tle, the Sea­hawks have ter­ror­ized rookie quar­ter­backs who visit CenturyLink Field.

Only one rookie quar­ter­back, Andy Dal­ton in 2011, has come in here and won since 2010.

The list of six losers in that span in­cludes last year’s No. 1 and No. 2 picks, Jared Goff and Car­son Wentz; only Wentz man­aged to sur­pass 200 pass­ing yards here.

That his­tory is what makes what Hous­ton Tex­ans rookie quar­ter­back De­shaun Wat­son ac­com­plished Oct. 29 in the Sea­hawks’ 41-38 come-from-be­hind win so stun­ning.

Even in de­feat and against the Sea­hawks’ No. 1-ranked scor­ing de­fense that had been al­low­ing fewer than 16 points per game, Wat­son amassed 469 yards of of­fense — 402 pass­ing and 67 rush­ing — while throw­ing for four touch­downs and ag­gres­sively at­tack­ing Seat­tle’s best de­fen­sive play­ers, cor­ner­back Richard Sher­man and safety Earl Thomas.

“I think it’s just the way we play. We have to at­tack,” Tex­ans coach Bill O’Brien said. “If you en­ter a game and you dip your toe in the wa­ter, you’re prob­a­bly not go­ing to win that game any­way, you might as well go in there and at­tack. ... That’s my phi­los­o­phy and that’s the player’s phi­los­o­phy, and just didn’t do it enough to­day.”

It was a gutsy ap­proach, and at times it paid off, like when Wat­son stunned the Sea­hawks and their rau­cous fans with a 59-yard touch­down pass to Will Fuller less than 21⁄ min­utes into the game. 2

Wat­son also wasn’t shy in throw­ing to Hous­ton No. 1 re­ceiver De­An­dre Hop­kins (eight catches, 224 yards, one touch­down) against Sher­man.

But as so many other rookie quar­ter­backs have learned here, chal­leng­ing Thomas and Sher­man too of­ten has con­se­quences. Both in­ter­cepted Wat­son, and Thomas re­turned his 78 yards for a touch­down in the first quar­ter. Sher­man in­ter­cepted Wat­son’s fi­nal des­per­a­tion pass of the game to seal the win.

Sea­hawks quar­ter­back Rus­sell Wil­son, who had 452 yards pass­ing and four touch­downs in one of the most en­ter­tain­ing games of the sea­son, was im­pressed by the rookie.

“He’s go­ing to be a spe­cial player for a long time,” Wil­son said. “His poise, his calm­ness and how he plays the game is fun to watch.”

Their per­for­mances al­most com­pletely over­shad­owed the pregame, when more than 30 Tex­ans took a knee and sev­eral sat dur­ing the an­them in protest of a com­ment from team owner Bob McNair pub­lished by ESPN say­ing “we can’t have in­mates run­ning the prison.”

“It was a lot of emo­tions. Just a huge sense of unity I think that we all felt,” Tex­ans tackle Duane Brown said. “Just com­ing out and play­ing for each other, for­get­ting ev­ery­thing else.

“Once kick­off started, we tried to block out any other dis­trac­tions.”


Tex­ans quar­ter­back De­shaun Wat­son is sacked by Sea­hawks de­fen­sive end Dwight Freeney (93) dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter at CenturyLink Field in Seat­tle.

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