Posted on October 1, 2017, by Travis Pulver
The 2017 NFL season began with a lot of promising young players ready to take the field on offense across the league. But three weeks in and no one has really stood out as an obvious candidate for offensive rookie of the year honors. However, after the game he had against the Tennessee Titans, Deshaun Watson is certainly going to be a part of the conversation.
Watson followed up his valiant effort against the New England Patriots in Week Three with a record-setting one against the Titans in a dominant 57-14 win.
The previous single-game franchise high was 45-points against the Titans in 2014. Watson made his mark as well by passing for four touchdowns and rushing for another to become the first rookie to do so since Fran Tarkenton did so back in 1961. He completed 25 of 34 pass attempts for 283 yards and added another 24 yards on the ground.
“He’s got a good mind, for a lot of things, not just football,” Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said (MSN). “He’s an excellent kid, and he’s fun to coach.”
Rather than get caught up in the hype, Watson sounds like he is keeping things in perspective.
“I have a long way to go,” Watson said after Sunday’s game (Yahoo). “It’s still early in my career. Just hope to continue on it.”
Watson got plenty of help from DeAndre Hopkins (10 receptions for 107 yards and a touchdown). The passing game also received a boost with the return of Will Fuller (four receptions for 35 yards and two touchdowns) who had broken his collarbone during the preseason.
The success in the passing game made it easier for the running game to get going as well. Lamar Miller led the way with 75 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries (also had four receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown). Rookie D’Onta Foreman added 45 yards on 13 carries.
Watson and the offense did get a lot of help with a dominant game by the defense. A hamstring injury forced Marcus Mariota out of the game after the first half. He struggled when he was in the game throwing for just 96 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. But he was effective on the ground where he had four carries for 39 yards and two touchdowns.
Matt Cassel played the second half and only completed four of ten passes for 21 yards. Like Mariota, the Texans defense intercepted him twice, including a pick-6 by Dylan Cole that made the score 54-14.
Tennessee entered the season with a fair amount of hype. They lost to the Raiders in Week One. But looked good in wins over the Jackson Jaguars and dominated the Seattle Seahawks last week. But to win the division, they must figure out the Houston Texans and have yet to do so.
Houston’s defense has been the driving force behind the Texans success in recent years. The defense couldn’t do enough against Jacksonville (but the terrible play of the offense didn’t help). It dominated the Bengals and played better than anyone expected against the Patriots.
But if the Houston offense and defense can continue to play at or near the level they played at against the Titans—well, the future certainly looks good.
Houston will have another challenging game next week on Sunday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs. Tennessee will try to get back on track against the Miami Dolphins.