Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has made tremendous strides early in his career but just how close could he get to catching Tom Brady? Let’s look.
On Sunday night, the 10-1 New England Patriots face off against the 7-4 Houston Texans. Both teams are content with their choice for a franchise starting quarterback. Naturally, this leads to the question: how does Deshaun Watson compare to the possible greatest of all time in New England’s Tom Brady?
Obviously, “dual-threat Deshaun” and Brady, possibly the most prolific passer in NFL history, feature different styles of play at their position. Here is a look at what Watson would need to accomplish to catch some of Brady’s career regular-season milestones as they currently stand going in to the last game for each team of November 2019.
Brady is perhaps the most accomplished and clutch postseason quarterback in NFL history—however, the following estimations represent the regular season only. In other words, the calculations below take each quarterback’s regular season numbers, as if they were finished products inclusive of the current year’s progress.
In effect, Watson’s three total years of service are subtracted from Brady’s 20. Then, an average is calculated for a given accomplishment of Brady’s to provide an estimation of what the Houston Texans’ quarterback would need to achieve at the end of 20 seasons to catch Brady’s numbers. Phew—felt like a math quiz flashback for a minute, let’s get to the fun.
Career passing yards
Both Brady and Watson enter Sunday Night Football’s prime time contest with eerily similar 2019 passing yard totals. Did you know that Brady’s 2,942 passing yards on the season lead Watson’s 2019 total by a mere 129 feet?
Over his career, Brady has thrown for 73,456 regular-season passing yards—good for second place all-time to Drew Brees. Brady accomplished this feat over a 20-year span. In order for Watson to catch Brady’s total, the Houston Texans‘ quarterback would need to average around 3,805 yards per season over the next 17 years.
Career touchdown passes
When it comes to throwing regular-season touchdown passes, Brady trails only Peyton Manning—you know, the guy who does all those commercials now. Brady’s 532 career total trails Manning’s record by seven passing touchdowns.
But, don’t look now—Drew Brees might finish as the all-time regular-season passing touchdown leader, as the Saints’ quarterback remains in a dead heat with Brady, having tossed 532 career touchdown passes, himself.
Watson, currently in his third season, has thrown 65 touchdown passes. In order for the Houston Texans‘ quarterback to catch Brady, he would need to average roughly 27 passing touchdowns per season over the next 17 seasons. If 17 years seems like an eternity, remember that Brady, 42, is slightly more than 18 years older than the 24-year-old Watson.
It has been said that only three things happen when a football is thrown, and only one of those outcomes is good for an offense. In Brady’s illustrious career, the 14-time Pro Bowler has thrown 6,277 completions—good for third place on the all-time NFL passing completion list led by New Orleans’ Drew Brees.
For Watson to catch Brady’s 6,277 regular season passing completions, the Houston Texans’ quarterback would need to average approximately 327 completions per season for—you guessed it—17 more seasons.
Career rushing yards
At Watson’s current pace of averaging roughly 373 yards of rushing per season—should he play 17 more years at the same level—the Houston Texans‘ quarterback could achieve 7,473 yards on the ground.
That would obliterate the current quarterback career rushing yards total of 6,109 set by Michael Vick. In case you are wondering, of yet-to-be retired quarterbacks, Cam Newton leads the NFL pack with 4,806 regular-season rushing yards.
Career rushing touchdowns
Brady averages are slightly more than one rushing touchdown per regular season. Over 20 seasons,
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the Patriots’ quarterback has found pay dirt with his legs only 22 times. Conversely, Watson has scored 12 rushing touchdowns, and by currently averaging four per year, could be on pace to notch 80 rushing touchdowns over a 20-season career.
80 rushing touchdowns by a quarterback would decimate the all-time record set by Carolina’s Cam Newton. The injured Panthers’ quarterback leads all non-retired quarterbacks with 58 career rushing touchdowns—far and away surpassing Steve Young’s now second-place finish of 43 quarterback career rushing touchdowns set in 1998.
Regardless of the outcome of Sunday night’s clash between the Patriots and Houston Texans, will football fans decades into the future look back on this AFC quarterback matchup as a face-off between two great players, as opposed to just one?
After all, both quarterbacks have chances to set all-time regular-season career records—though, for Watson, those numbers would most likely be attained as a rushing threat. Perhaps, the better question is which quarterback will come must hungry for the win with an A-game performance four days after Thanksgiving?
What do you think? Please leave your comments below.