Richmond Times-Dispatch

Watson serves up four TDs in Texans’ victory

Fuller fed two scores; Lions drop another Thanksgivi­ng game


DETROIT— Deshaun Watson dropped back in a protected pocket at midfield and perfectly lofted one of his four touchdown passes, connecting with Will Fuller in stride just before he reached the end zone. Houston’s star quarterbac­k made it look easy, and the Detroit Lions did their part to not put up much of a fight.

Watson had a pair of goahead touchdown passes in the first half and threw for two more scores in the fourth quarter to help Houston pull away and beat Detroit 41-25 Thursday. And still, he wasn’t satisfied.

“It was definitely good, but I missed two touchdowns,” Watson said.

The dynamic quarterbac­k finished 17 of 25 for 318 yards with four touchdowns and no intercepti­ons. He has thrown 15 touchdown passes without getting picked off once in the past six games.

“You’ve got to give some credit to the guys up front,” interim coach Romeo Crennel said. “If they give him time, he’s able to make plays. Guys can get open and he can hit them. He has that kind of accuracy.”

Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt had an early pick-6 and Fuller had six receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns, including a 40-yard touchdown catch in which it looked like he and Watson were all alone on a practice field.

The Texans (4-7) have won two straight for the first time this season and three of their past four games with Crennel.

“That’s good, but we haven’t won enough,” Crennel said.

The Lions haven’t, either, and it might cost at least one man his job.

Detroit (4-7) might end the season with interim leaders after losing consecutiv­e games for the third time this season, dropping coach Matt Patricia’s record to 13-29-1 and general manager Bob Quinn’s mark to 12 games under .500 over five seasons. Thursday’s loss was the Lions’ fourth straight on Thanksgivi­ng.

Patricia was peppered with questions about his job being in jeopardy.

“My focus every day is on the guys in that locker room and working as hard as I can to help them be successful,” he said.

The Lions retained Patricia and Quinn for this season and ownership said there was an expectatio­n they contend for the playoffs by playing in meaningful games in December.

Detroit quarterbac­k Matthew Stafford said the scrutiny on Patricia has not appeared to affect him.

“He’s the same guy every day,” Stafford said. “The guy comes to work, grinds, and wants to win like all of us. He’s a passionate coach, who loves the game. I’ve had a lot of respect with how he’s continued to come to work.”

Detroit, which was coming off its first shutout loss since 2009, scored first before collapsing with turnovers on two straight snaps and three consecutiv­e possession­s in the first half. Houston’s defense entered the game with an NFLlow five forced turnovers.

Watt put his hands up on a rush just in time to pick off Stafford’s pass and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.

“I saw he was going to throw quickly so I stopped rushing and jumped up,” Watt recalled. “It hit me square in the hands.”

On Detroit’s next snap, Jonathan Williams fumbled and Houston took advantage with Watson’s 2-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Prosise (Petersburg) to go ahead 13-6.

“Three turnovers early in the game killed the momentum,” Stafford said.

Watson’s 33-yard touchdown pass to Duke Johnson gave the Texans a 20-14 lead early in the second quarter.

Watson’s first touchdown pass to Fuller early in the fourth put Houston ahead 3417. He connected again with Fuller, who was wide open, with a 34-yard touchdown on a trick play after handing the ball off and getting it back on a lateral.

Stafford was 28 of 42 for 295 yards with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu in the fourth and an intercepti­on that Watt returned for a score. Detroit’s Adrian Peterson had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs in the first half — and tried to take some blame off Patricia for the latest loss.

“It has nothing to do with the head coach,” Peterson said.

 ?? THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ?? Texans quarterbac­k Deshaun Watson needed just 17 completion­s to total 318 yards and four touchdowns against the Lions’ defense.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Texans quarterbac­k Deshaun Watson needed just 17 completion­s to total 318 yards and four touchdowns against the Lions’ defense.

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