Houston Texans, NFL, Deshaun Watson

COMMENTARY: Watson’s perspective refreshing despite difficult loss

By DENNIS SILVA II, Times Sports Editor
Posted 11/18/19

Everyone has bad days. They take place more often than we’d like. The struggle is in not letting them define us, which can be easier said than done.

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Houston Texans, NFL, Deshaun Watson

COMMENTARY: Watson’s perspective refreshing despite difficult loss

Posted

Everyone has bad days. They take place more often than we’d like. The struggle is in not letting them define us, which can be easier said than done.

Last Sunday, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson had a bad day at the office, completing 18 of 30 passes for 169 yards and no touchdowns in a 41-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Watson had two turnovers, a fumble on Houston’s opening drive of the game and interception in the second half, and was sacked seven times.

It was the first time in Watson’s college or pro career that his team lost by more than two touchdowns.

Woof.

It wasn’t just about the offense, either. The defense allowed 249 rushing yards, the most the Texans have surrendered during the Bill O’Brien coaching era, and the Ravens were the third team to never punt in a game against the Texans.

The humiliating laugher had significant ramifications. Because of the setback, the 6-4 Texans are now second in the AFC South heading into Thursday’s game at home against first-place Indianapolis.

After the game, O’Brien offered the usual, tired clichés.

“We’ve got to turn the page quickly here and learn from the mistakes and move forward very quickly.”

“It’s the NFL. If you don’t play well and you don’t coach well and you make mistakes, you’re going to get beat. They obviously did a better job.”

“Anytime you lose, it’s not good. It’s tough. But you’ve got to turn the page and you’ve got to move on quickly.”

And a personal favorite of his: “I have no idea. I’ve got to watch the tape.”

Watson did not have many answers, either. But he did have perspective, offering an admirable uplifting outlook on an otherwise miserable afternoon.

The game was hyped as must-see between Watson and Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, two potential MVP candidates. Both are not only unbelievable talents, but high-character individuals as well.

A role model’s role model.

Jackson clearly got the best of the Texans, completing 17 of 24 passes for 222 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 86 yards on nine carries, including a spectacular 39-yard jaunt that will be replayed on ESPN for quite a while.

Watson would have had every reason to hang his head or even refuse to talk to the media after the game. Players do it all the time, even superstars. But one thing the Texans’ leader is not is unaccountable.

In fact, Watson held his head high. He did not mumble words or speak in a whisper. When asked if he took the loss personally, Watson responded quickly, “Nope.”

“I have a lot of peace in my heart and my mind,” Watson said.

Wow. And then he went on to prove it.

Watson talked about exchanging jerseys with Jackson after the game. On his No. 4 white Texans jersey, Watson said he wrote, ‘Always love. Keep going. Keep grinding.’

“I wrote MVP on it,” Watson said. “He’s like a brother to me. I’m proud of him. That’s what I told him. ‘Keep going. Stay healthy.’ Keep leading his team. It’s all respect. He played well today.”

A reporter’s follow-up question to Watson’s answer implied disbelief.

“You wrote ‘MVP’?”

“This game is all about brotherhood,” Watson said. “Who knows how long we’re going to get to play. Yes, today didn’t go our way and it’s going to have a lot of criticism, but at the end of the day that’s not going to stop what I’m doing, waking up blessed, happy, walking, and being able to do what I love to do at a high level.”

And there it is. Epiphany. Peace of heart, peace of mind.

As Texans fans cry for O’Brien’s firing or disgrace Watson and his teammates for coming up short in a big regular season game, leave it to the 24-year-old to be the voice of reason.

Watson expressed a self-assuredness that is, well, envied. Probably something we all wish we had when adversity crosses our paths. Something we all do have if we just look in the right place and embrace a positive state of mind.

“I’ve had a lot of success and I’ve had a lot of failures,” Watson said. “Every quarterback does; all the great ones do. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers. Everyone has their days, and you continue. The criticisms come, week in and week out; I could go out Thursday and light it up and everyone would be back talking highly of us. It’s a media-driven league and we’re just going to continue to focus on us and the Texans and continue to win games, try and get to where we want to get to.

“There’s still a lot of football.”

It was a stirring moment, as Watson’s words were enlightening. A needed mental (spiritual?) break from the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world of professional sports.

Hey, Texans fans, by the way: six games remain in the regular season. The world is not ending, relatively speaking.

“In the whole scheme of things, relative to how he sees life and how he attacks things, that was one day that is over,” O’Brien said Monday when reporters relayed to him what Watson said the previous day. “He’s overcome a hell of a lot more than that. He’ll be ready to go.”

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