Houston Texans, NFL, Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt

Watson rallies Texans, but Watt out for season

By DENNIS SILVA II, Times Sports Editor
Posted 10/27/19

It is very much a next-man-up season for the Texans.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in
Houston Texans, NFL, Deshaun Watson, J.J. Watt

Watson rallies Texans, but Watt out for season

Posted

It is very much a next-man-up season for the Texans.

With three of four starters in the secondary already inactive with injuries heading into Sunday’s game against the Raiders, the Texans saw three more starters, including star defensive end J.J. Watt, go down with injury in a gritty 27-24 win on Oct. 27 at NRG Stadium.

Watt tweeted shortly after the game that he was done for the season after reportedly tearing his left pectoral.

“This game can be beautiful and it can also be brutal,” Watt tweeted. “Absolutely gutted that I won’t be able to finish the season with my guys and give the fans what they deserve. I truly love this game and can’t stand letting you guys down.”

Watt suffered the injury after tackling Raiders running back Josh Jacobs for a loss a little more than midway through the second quarter.

It is the third time in four seasons that Watt will miss eight or more games due to injury. Entering the game, Watt had 4.0 sacks with three tackles for losses this season and led the NFL in quarterback hits with 16 and total pressures with 51.

“He’s a great football player. He’s an even better guy,” coach Bill O’Brien said. “Unfortunately, we’ve been in this position before and we’ve got some guys here. We’ll miss him, though. That’s obvious.”

Added quarterback Deshaun Watson: “It’s tough. That’s a big part of this team. But he knows this locker room, this organization, this town, this city, Houston nation is definitely going to support him through his recovery. You hate to see anybody go down with a season-ending injury. All the work he put in to get to this point. It’s crazy, it sucks. But we love him and we’re definitely going to support him.”

Watt, cornerback Lonnie Johnson (concussion) and offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil (shoulder) all went out with injuries at various points of the game. Rookie defensive end Charles Omenihu assumed much of Watt’s role the last 2 ½ quarters.

Still, an offense that came alive late by scoring on three second-half drives and taking the victory formation on the fourth was enough, as Watson, who finished the game with a swollen left eye after getting kicked late on a touchdown pass, rallied the Texans.

Watson completed 27 of 39 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns. Two of the touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter, which the Texans entered trailing 21-13.

“We’re never out of a game, regardless of what the score is,” Watson said. “We’ve got to play 60 minutes. It’s the NFL. There are swings and momentum changes all the time. The game comes down to the inches. It was a good team win. The first half, we didn’t play to our capability, but the second half we did better and came out with a ‘W.’”

It’s the eighth time Watson has directed a fourth quarter comeback.

“We feel like we can come back, no matter how down we are,” receiver DeAndre Hopkins said. “You’ve got a guy like Deshaun in there, we don’t panic at all.”

The most dynamic play of the game came when the Texans had the ball at the Raiders’ 9-yard line about midway through the fourth quarter. Watson scrambled, avoided traffic and a sack, and threw a touchdown pass to tight end Darren Fells after being inadvertently kicked in the left eye.

“I was just trying to make a play and spin him off, and when he spun, his leg came up and hit my helmet,” Watson said. “That’s all I remember. My eye went shut. I kind of threw it blind, but I assumed where he was going, adjusted and let my hand guide it. I didn’t even see the play until after the game. I just laid there and heard the crowd go crazy.”

Raiders coach Jon Gruden compared Watson’s athleticism to Michael Jordan after the game.

“Ever since I came out of college, I always loved him,” Watson said of Gruden. “He’s always loved me and supported me, ever since I went to his camp during predraft. He’s a great coach and a great person. That’s pretty dope from a guy that’s coached and been around a lot of football.”

The Texans are 5-3 heading into Sunday’s game against the Jaguars in London.

HOPKINS REACHES MILESTONE

Hopkins caught 11 passes for 109 yards in the win. With a catch in the third quarter, Hopkins became the third-youngest player to reach the 8,000-yard career receiving mark.

Only Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald achieved that mark faster.

“That means a lot to me,” Hopkins said. “Those two guys are going down with yellow (Hall of Fame) jackets. I’m 27, but I look up to those two guys. They’re the greatest at my position, so to be able to do that with the (quarterback) carousel that I’ve had over my career … I don’t like patting myself on the back, but I always keep my head up and stay persistent. Some people look at stats and think they’re just stats, but there’s much more that goes into it.”

Hopkins noted the individuality of playing receiver, the macho man-on-man alignment, and thanked all of his quarterbacks, including the much-maligned ones like Brock Osweiler.

“I can’t throw the ball to myself,” Hopkins remarked.

FELLS STARS

Fells caught six passes for 58 yards and both of the two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Incidentally, the first-year Texan’s performance came on “National Tight Ends Day.” Tight end Jordan Akins also had two catches for 11 yards.

“I saw that this morning, but I thought it was a joke,” Watson said about the “holiday.” “I guess it is. I’m glad. They came in handy today for us, for sure.”

Entering the game, Fells had 186 yards and three touchdowns on 17 catches, emerging as a reliable force in the red zone.

“He’s been a great addition,” O’Brien said. “He’s very mature. He’s a guy that cares and who wants to do what’s right for the team. He’s very much a team-oriented guy. He’s helped us tremendously.”

STREAK SNAPPED

The Texans failed to record a takeaway against the Raiders, snapping a current NFL-best streak of 20 consecutive games with one.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here