Deshaun Watson didn’t throw the ball much on Thursday night. He didn’t have to. The Houston Texans quarterback averaged 11.9 yards per pass with 73 and 49-yard touchdown passes.
Watson looked like the same electric player the football world came to know and love in 2017 and hadn’t seen since.
Watson has been recovering from an ACL injury, which ended his 2017 season after seven games. Heading into Week 8, he looked tenuous. He and the rest of the Texans passing offense lacked the same explosiveness which made them dangerous last season. His longest play was 49 yards and his yards per pass were 8.04. He had 10 touchdowns, seven interceptions and four fumbles.
He exploded on Thursday night completing 16 of 20 for 239 yards and five touchdown passes. He had one carry for 14 yards.
Yes, the Miami Dolphins defense played like utter garbage. The Texans’ receivers were often wide open. Sometimes, a player needs a confidence booster to turn a corner physically and mentally. Watson hammered away at the Dolphins with explosive ease.
His longest play of the game was a beauty. Watson delivered a long ball to Fuller, who was already open but got even more space with Watson’s placement. That helped Fuller run untouched for a 73-yard touchdown.
Watson did well standing in the pocket, and delivered a touchdown while staring a pass rusher in the face. Even with the pressure, Watson dropped the ball into the arms of his tight end Jordan Thomas. Easy touchdown.
Watson also got out of the pocket, and while he rushed just once, he managed to elude the Dolphins’ rush in the red zone in the third quarter to lengthen a play and throw a touchdown. Watson rolled right, before reversing field and zipping the ball into a window to Thomas. That’s the kind of improvisation he made look easy last year. Perhaps we can now expect more of the same.
Last season, Watson was what Patrick Mahomes has been this season: a revelation. The ACL injury seemed to set back Watson, and, in turn, the Texans offense. Things have turned around quickly. The Texans have won five straight, and Watson is looking confident in his knee, which has given him greater confidence in his throwing motion. Houston should continue on their tear, and should be competitive with the top of the AFC in no time.
Watson is back. That’s great for Watson. That’s great for the Texans. And that’s great for the NFL.