Houston Texans, NFL, Will Fuller V

When healthy, Texans’ Fuller is a difference-maker

By DENNIS SILVA II, Times Sports Editor
Posted 11/22/19

Over the last three seasons, Texans receiver Will Fuller V has missed 18 games. Injuries have plagued Fuller’s tenure with Houston; his only healthy season was his rookie year in 2016.

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Houston Texans, NFL, Will Fuller V

When healthy, Texans’ Fuller is a difference-maker

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Over the last three seasons, Texans receiver Will Fuller V has missed 18 games. Injuries have plagued Fuller’s tenure with Houston; his only healthy season was his rookie year in 2016.

However, whenever the 6-foot, 184-pound speedster is able to get on the field, he is a game-changer. Fuller once again proved as much during the Texans’ 20-17 win over the Colts on Thursday, Nov. 21, that regained the AFC South lead for Houston.

Houston is 7-4 overall, with a one-game lead in the division over 6-5 Indianapolis.

Making his return following a three-game absence due to a strained hamstring, Fuller was spectacular, hauling in a team-best seven catches for 140 yards against the same Colts team which he suffered the hamstring injury against on Oct. 20. He had four completions of 30 yards or more.

“Just trying to put fear in the (defensive back’s) heart,” Fuller said. “Running my route hard every chance I got. When (quarterback) Deshaun (Watson) throws me the ball, that trust really gets me going. Just got to keep it going.”

Fuller said his hamstring felt better last week, though with the short week after the previous Sunday’s game in Baltimore and no practices and only walkthroughs, he didn’t get a chance to really test it.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Fuller said. “But I’m happy I had a big game and helped my team win.”

Overall this season, Fuller has 590 yards and three touchdowns on 41 catches in eight games, averaging 14.4 yards per catch.

“Yeah, he’s a big part of the offense,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “He’s obviously very fast, but he’s a very good route runner. Sometimes really fast guys, they’re not the best route runners. This guy’s got both. He can run great routes and he’s got great speed.

“The issue with Will has always been just, can he be healthy? So he’s always worked hard to stay healthy and any time we have had a healthy Will, I think if you look back over since he’s been here, he’s been a very productive guy. He’s made chunk plays for us, touchdowns, and he’s a great player. And when we get him as a part of our offense it really helps us and it opens up a lot of different things.”

Over the last two seasons, the Texans are 10-5 when Fuller plays.

“He just opens up a lot of different things,” Watson said. “His speed, his route running. You have to respect him. Just him and his addition and moving Kenny (Stills) around and having those guys. Those three are, I think, the best trio in the league, and when those guys are playing at a high level, it makes my job a lot easier. And it was good to see him back in action and make some great catches for us.”

Against the Colts, Watson targeted Fuller a team-high 11 times. Fuller caught seven of those, including a long of 51 yards.

Putting fear in the defensive back’s heart, just like he said.

“You can tell in their body language as the game goes on that they’re scared,” Fuller said.

It was Fuller’s 11-yard catch for a first down late in the fourth quarter that sealed the win for the Texans.

“Will’s (Fuller V), he’s one of the fastest guys in the NFL. I think that speaks for itself, the way he can stretch the field and make plays like he did,” said receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who caught six balls for 94 yards and two touchdowns against the Colts. “Will’s a great guy, came back from injury, made plays for us when we needed him … to have that 1-2 punch is awesome.”

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