Deshaun Watson didnt put on an aerial display. He didnt even throw a TD in his first professional start for the Houston Texans, but he did lead the team to a 13-9 road win over the floundering Cincinnati Bengals. Since leading Clemson to the national championship game in 2015, and winning the title last year, Watson’s been known for winning.
His legs and intelligence did most of the damage as the former Clemson star was 15-for-24 passing for 125 yards against the Bengals and had two rushes for 53 yards including a 49-yard touchdown run on the Texans’ lone touchdown drive at Paul Brown Stadium.
The 49-yard scamper came in the first half after Watson got welcomed to the NFL with what the new school football observers would call a vicious hit by Geno Atkins. It put his team up 10-3. It did show grit. Toughness. Lord knows elite NFL QBs need those attributes.
Deshaun Watson put on the burners! #HOUvsCIN https://t.co/72EJioHUi0
“I just knew I had to make a play,” Watson told NFL Network after the 13-9 win. “It was in the two-minute mode so my feet is always good in two-minute mode and I just seen a hole and tried to make something happen.”
Watson also killed a late Bengals rally with this legs, getting crucial first downs, helping to set up a field goal, keeping the ball out of Cincys hands as time expired. The field goal iced Watsons first career win against a defense that gave him more than his share of problems.
He was pressured and hit more than he had ever been in college, but the poised rookie never got nervous and managed the game beautifully. Watson completed 5-of-9 passes for 42 yards and added an 11-yard run on the drive that forced the Bengals to have to score a touchdown if they wanted to taste victory.
The verdict is out on how Watson will develop, or if his passing game will be good enough to make him the ultimate dual threat and not a one-dimensional game manager. But on Thursday night, you saw flashes of his able arm, the intangibles, leadership, confidence and potential that made him a first round draft pick and a national champ in college.
One thing’s for certain is that the Texans lack of stability at QB has hurt their franchise in promising seasons. Watson is the team’s 9th different starting QB under Bill O’Brien since 2014. That’s tied for the most starting QBs in that time.
The Houston Texans Quarterbacks An overview of 52 gms w/ 9 QBs from 2014-17 Deshaun Watson 1st start today #HOUvsCIN #TNF #Texans #Bengals50
Watson will face huge odds and defenders looking to decapitate him in the upcoming weeks, and his on-the-job training will have its ups and downs. The biggest advantage for Houston is that the team finally has a QB that they can believe in. Watson can do the rest over time.
I think you saw that on the touchdown run. I mean, that’s what he gives you, said Texans star JJ Watt after the game. “He’s not going to be perfect. He’s a rookie. There are going to be tough times throughout the year, but that’s what the defense is for. If they get into a tough spot, we’re there to try to pull them out of it”
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Watson told yall a long time ago that he was better than Mitch Trubisky, Deshone Kizer or any other QBs selected in the 2017 Draft. So far, hes got more wins than them, so nothing much has changed from college to the pros in that regard. He’s right on track to becoming an impact player in the NFL in his rookie season.