Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson is firmly amongst the NFL’s elite

Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans (Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans (Photo by Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

The Houston Texans weren’t able to take care of business against the Eagles but Deshaun Watson has placed himself amongst the NFL’s elite at quarterback.

The Houston Texans entered week sixteen in a prime position. They sat atop the division and in second place in the conference. That second place position was and is extremely important as they would have had a first-round bye in the playoffs. A chance to heal up and focus on their game, not necessarily an opponent.

The Texans week sixteen matchup against the Eagles was an interesting one. The Eagles, coming into the week, were surging with Nick Foles at the helm and the Texans are coming off a couple of rough games. Ultimately, they weren’t able to take care of business in their final regular-season road game and fell to the Eagles, ceding to the two seed and first-round bye to the Patriots.

A lot of warts were exposed in this loss as well. The offensive line looked extremely porous for the majority of the game once again. The running game was also non-existent for the third or fourth consecutive week now. The secondary depth was exposed in addition to several blown assignments that led to huge chunk plays for the Eagles.

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However, there was one major, major bright spot for this Houston Texans team in what ultimately was a very disappointing game across the board. That bright spot? Deshaun Watson. Watson was simply incredible and was the sole reason the game was as close as it was. He has officially cemented himself amongst the NFL’s elite at the quarterback position and the Texans are all the better for it.

The first thing that proved this point this week was his tremendous production with the cast of characters he was surrounded with. The offensive line looks like a bunch of oversized traffic cones that the defensive line just has to work their way around to get to him. His backfield mate was either a guy taking his first snaps of the season in D’Onta Foreman and a guy that shouldn’t see the football field very often in Alfred Blue.

After that, pass catchers were probably the Houston Texans strongest position group for Watson heading into this week though it still wasn’t particularly strong. DeAndre Hopkins has cemented himself in the top three wide receiver conversation, if not the best wide receiver conversation. Demaryius Thomas has been invaluable since being acquired earlier this season. The rookie tight ends, Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas, are very raw but show a ton of promise.

Unfortunately, Thomas planted his foot wrong and tore his Achilles which is devasting for him and the team that has played the majority of the season without Keke Coutee and Will Fuller. So, that left the team with three wide receivers for the remainder of the Eagles game: Hopkins, DeAndre Carter, and Vyncint Smith.

Yet, in spite of all of that, Watson had a spectacular game. He threw for 339 yards and two touchdowns and helped keep the team in the game even with the cast of characters he had to do it with. Case and point, the 35-yard beauty of a throw to Smith for the lead late in the game. Some credit needs to go to Smith for hauling it in and staying in bounds but Watson put that ball in a perfect position for him to do so.

Watson also proved how elusive he can be in the pocket. One play late in the game proves this point and is one of the greatest individual efforts we’ve seen this season. At least three guys actually had hands on Watson but somehow he spun out of all of them and was able to complete a 20+ yard throw to Akins for a first down.

On top of that, Watson was just surgical all day long. He threaded passes to where only the Houston Texans receivers could get them. He had a 70+ completion percentage for the fifth week in a row now. He also continued his streak of not throwing an interception. In the past nine games, he’s only thrown two interceptions and they both came in one week. This is after throwing seven in the first six weeks of the season.

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Then, there is his ability on the ground with his legs, beyond moving around in the pocket avoiding rushers. He picks his scramble spots well and only does it when it’s wide open and he did that successfully against the Eagles. He also had two incredible touchdown runs against the Eagles where he made a couple of cuts that made defenders looked silly as he made his way to the end zone.

Watson has truly developed into what the Houston Texans were hoping he would be able to when they traded up to draft him 12th overall in the first round of the 2017 draft. He has built on and surpassed his terrific seven-game stretch in his rookie season. His performance against the Eagles displays all of that in a nutshell and shows why the Texans are set up for success for the long haul.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Houston Texans finally have a franchise quarterback that will keep them in contention for a very long time. Sit back and enjoy this incredible show he puts on week in and week out.

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For the season, Deshaun Watson has thrown for 3,931 yards, 26 touchdowns to 9 interceptions, to go with a 68+ completion percentage and a 100+ QB rating for the Houston Texans this season. Do you agree that he has reached this elite level? Why or why not? Let us know below!