The Washington Post Sunday

Believe it or not, the Browns are still alive after a win in Denver, and the Texans survive a scare from the Jets.



east rutherford, n.j. — The Houston Texans were trailing late and facing a second straight loss after their nine-game winning streak. Deshaun Watson wasn’t having it.

The coolheaded, playmaking quarterbac­k threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins with 2:15 left, lifting the Texans to a 29-22 victory over Sam Darnold’s New York Jets on Saturday night.

“It doesn’t surprise me that he’s able to stay controlled in those situations,” Hopkins said of Watson. “He’s done that before in big games in his career. On the sideline, everyone was composed. Nobody panicked.”

And no one was more in control than Watson.

“The game is never over for me,” he said. “The plays are never over sometimes. I just go out there with the ball in my hands, put the load on my shoulders and lead the team to victory. I’ve been doing that my whole life, and I have to continue to do that at this level.

“Every game comes down to a final drive. You’ve got to be able to block out all the noise, lock in and try to lead the team to victory.”

After Darnold and the Jets took their first lead of the game on Elijah McGuire’s two-yard touchdown run, the Texans (10-4) answered. A holding call on cornerback Morris Claiborne on third down prolonged the drive, and Watson completed passes of 20 and three yards to Demaryius Thomas and seven yards to Hopkins to get to New York’s 14-yard line. Watson then found Hopkins streaking down the left sideline and launched a pass that the wide receiver somehow came down with despite being tightly covered by Claiborne.

“I wouldn’t want any other quarterbac­k in this entire universe other than him,” Hopkins said. “The things he can do, staying in the pocket after taking hits and deliver balls on the money — not a lot of quarterbac­ks can do that.”

Hopkins rolled an ankle on the play, and Watson and Alfred Blue helped him to the sideline as the Texans celebrated. Hopkins was okay, though, and he finished with 10 catches for 170 yards and two TDs.

Watson finished 22 for 28 for 294 yards and the two scores to Hopkins.

Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 40-yard field goal — his fifth kick of the game — made it 29-22 with 54 seconds left. Darnold and the Jets (4-10) had one more opportunit­y to try to tie — or win — but Houston held on.

“To go out there against a good Texans team, it would’ve been awesome to be able to get that win,” Darnold said, “but we just came up short.”

The loss ruined a terrific night for Darnold, who made plays with his arm and legs all game. The No. 3 draft pick was 24 for 38 for 253 yards and touchdown passes to Robby Anderson and Andre Roberts. He set up an impressive, 15-play, 73-yard goahead drive late during which he converted three third-down plays and a fourth-down opportunit­y.

 ?? BRAD PENNER/USA TODAY SPORTS ?? Deshaun Watson’s 14-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins with a little more than two minutes left sent Houston to a road win.
BRAD PENNER/USA TODAY SPORTS Deshaun Watson’s 14-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins with a little more than two minutes left sent Houston to a road win.

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