Watson, Texans looking to build on offensive success
HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson has Houston’s offense running like never before.
A 33-17 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday gave them 30 or more points in four straight games for the first time in franchise history. It was Houston’s fourth straight game where the offense gained 340 yards or more.
But the Texans are 3-3 entering their bye this week, leaving plenty of room for improvement in the last 10 games as they chase a third straight playoff berth.
“We have a lot to work on,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “I think the bye’s coming at a good time. I think it’s been decent, but I think that it can be a lot better.”
Tom Savage started Houston’s opener against Jacksonville before being benched at halftime of the loss. Watson, the 12th overall pick in this year’s draft, has gone 3-2 in his five starts since and has already put his mark on the offense.
His three touchdown passes Sunday gave him 15 this season, which is the most through the first six games by a rookie in NFL history. He’s also the first rookie in league history to throw three touchdown passes in three straight games.
“He’s a very confident guy,” O’Brien said. “He’s got a quiet confidence about himself. He’s just the same guy every day. He really believes in himself. He’s a very intelligent guy. He’s really never satisfied ... he’s a great guy to coach. Just a really special kid and I think he’ll only get better and better.”
Watson said he’ll use the bye to study and rest a little so he can be better when the Texans visit the Seahawks on Oct. 29.
“I’m never complacent,” he said. “I’m always striving to be the best and striving to improve on my game.”
Receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who has suffered through years of struggles at quarterback, raves about Watson every chance he gets. He isn’t surprised that the young QB has been so successful so early in his career.
“I expected that honestly,” Hopkins said. “From training camp when he came in, the way he handled himself in the film room. Even in training camp when he wasn’t getting reps with the ones, he was still learning. He was still going over things talking about it to us when he got the opportunity, (and now) it’s presented itself, so nobody in this locker room was honestly surprised with the way he’s developed so far.”
His performance has been helped by the work of receiver Will Fuller in the last three weeks. The second-year player missed the first three games after breaking his collarbone in training camp, but has caught five touchdown passes since his return after finishing with two last season. Fuller says he’s stronger than he was as a rookie and that he’s learned a lot in his second year in the system.
“Just playing smarter,” Fuller said. “I feel like I say that a lot. It’s my second year, so I know a lot more about defenses and how they’re going to try to play. I think that’s the biggest thing. Playing smarter so I can play faster.”
Watson, who joined the Texans after winning a national championship at Clemson last year, loves having so many weapons at his disposal. He has thrown touchdown passes to six players, led by six to Hopkins.
“We are all on the same page,” Watson said. “We all support each other. We’re all rooting for each other, and it’s no selfishness. ... We all just want to win and score points. So whoever gets open, depending on the scheme, what the defense is doing, and the play call, we’re all supporting each other. Those guys are making me better and making me look good, so I appreciate them for getting open and catching the ball.”
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