Could big day in loss be QB’s breakout?
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.