Texans escape with 20-13 win over the Bills, but are they ruining Deshaun Watson?
The Texans grinded out an unimpressive 20-13 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, evening their record at 3-3 after a dismal 0-3 start.
The defense stifled the Bills, including two late picks to lock down the victory.
Deshaun Watson led a tying 84-yard drive to a field goal in the final two minutes where they were helped immensely by a pass interference call on the Bills in the end zone on a deep pass. The Texans had first and goal, but once again failed to score a touchdown. They settled for a field goal, setting the stage for Jonathan Joseph's pick six to win the game.
After six games, we still don’t know what the Texans are. They have losses to Blaine Gabbert and made a broken down Eli Manning look like a real quarterback. The Colts gifted them an OT win, then the Texans defense woke up and locked down the Cowboys and Bills, but they were still all-out to win both. And the bad news? The Cowboys offense is terrible on the road. The Bills are historically bad, and backup QB Peterman gave the game away with the late pick six. Still, the Texans defense did what it needed to do. They held the Bills to just 12 first downs. The got two sacks and forced four turnovers.
They also got key contributions on special teams, including recovering a fumble and blocking a punt.
They needed every bit of it, because Deshaun Watson and the offense had a rough day. Whether it was lingering effects of his injury or simply bad play, Watson struggled throughout. He was sacked seven times, threw two interceptions, lost a fumble (he was lucky he did not lose more) and could not put together sustained drives. His accuracy was off, and he made a lot of questionable decisions.
And that is why it is impossible to know what these Texans are. If the defense can play this well going forward and Watson can be more positive than negative, a playoff berth might be possible. But we really have not seen that combination all year, with the exception of the Cowboys game, and even then the offense was abysmal in the red zone.
On Sunday, Watson and the offense struggled all over the field, including the red zone. They were just 3 of 13 on third down. They had fewer yards (213 total) than the Bills. And it almost cost them the game.
The bigger concern is the Texans may be in the process of ruining Watson’s career.
The offensive line has been an issue for two years. They were terrible again on Sunday, and you have to wonder what the impact on Watson will be long term. He is already physically beaten up, and it is affecting his game. It also appears to be impacting him mentally as well. His body language is not the same, his confidence appears shot, and he could very well be regressing before our eyes.
His head coach has not helped him. Questionable play calling, putting his QB at risk of bad hits, and making boneheaded decisions that cost the team points.
But Watson is not helping himself, either. He once again threw an interception in the Bills end zone on an absolutely terrible decision. At least a couple of the sacks were on him for holding the ball too long. Those mistakes are going to cost the Texans games.
It almost did on Sunday.
Watson is the presumed future of the franchise. He won’t be if he can’t stay healthy and loses the swagger and confidence and turns the ball over multiple times. That is what we saw for much of Sunday.
If it continues, the Texans present - and future - might not be so bright.