TEXANS QB HAS MADE ESCAPING TROUBLE ELEMENTARY AS HE CONTINUES TO MAKE MAGIC HAPPEN.

Watson: Houdini with a helmet on

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Deshaun Watson has matured right before our eyes as he continues to get better and better. He has continually overcome injury, survived his early years with the Bill O' Brien offense and the bad o-line that came with it and learned from each mistake he has made along the way. He knows when to stay in the pocket and go through his progressions and when to tuck it and run. His passing skills have always been good but they seemingly improve with every snap and the fact that he faces the music and the media when he plays poorly and then goes back to the lab to get better means his dedication to his craft lives up to the growing hype train that is rolling down the tracks. Houston and fans of the Texans everywhere need to appreciate what they get to witness every week when No. 4 gets behind center for their team and be thankful that after all those lean QB years with a revolving door of misfits and journeymen, you finally have your franchise quarterback.

Texans Rick Smith Bill O'Brien, Tytus Howard, Brian Gaine Composite photo by Brandon Strange

I know it's hard to fathom, but in an indirect way, you have to thank Brock Osweiler for getting Watson to H-town. If Osweiler had remotely worked out after the team signed him to a huge free-agent deal, you would never have Watson in red, white and blue. Be thankful Rick Smith tried to right his wrong and no matter the price and how many draft picks were lost in the process, the moves he made to make drafting the Clemson QB a reality were worth every penny. The Chicago Bears surely have to be kicking themselves as they did what Smith and the Texans did, giving up a future first-round pick to get their franchise quarterback, but Mitch Trubisky is no Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes for that matter. Both MVP candidate quarterbacks went later in the same draft and were passed over by the Bears who felt "Maseratii Mitch" was better. Thank goodness they did as Chiefs fans and Texans fans will always look back on those draft day dealings and feel thankful.

The early returns on the 2017 QB class gave all the accolades and the top billing to Mahomes and rightfully so. After sitting out his first year to learn the ropes, system and coaching staff, he took the league by storm and became a human highlight reel every Sunday. The season culminated with a tough loss to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, but also with Mahomes winning the NFL MVP Award. Could you imagine if Watson had an innovative offensive mind like Andy Reid from the start? What if he had the Chiefs o-line? Can you imagine Watson operating with all the weapons Mahomes had and has at most every skill position? I say that to make the point that the media and most experts thought it was a no-brainer that Mahomes was the cream of the 2017 crop of QB's and forgot the fact that Houston was still putting pieces around their QB1 and once they did, he would continue to get better and better.

He also had to overcome the after-effects of an injury suffered in the midst of a season that almost surely was headed for rookie of the year as well as MVP consideration. As we look at the two quarterbacks now, it's more of a dead heat and toss-up than it was just a year ago and the future may very well dictate that Deshaun will be king of the hill when all is said and done. Regardless of how it all ends, be thankful you will be along for the ride, every step of the way, as he leads your team into battle for each and every game. As much as people scoffed at Dabo Sweeney when he proclaimed the whichever team drafted Watson, his college QB, was getting the Michael Jordan of football, he doesn't look too far off as we watch Watson's meteoric rise.

Texans 20 , Colts 17

Texans vs Colts: Good, bad and ugly

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In a Thursday Night Football battle, the Texans edged out the Colts in 20-17 hard fought victory. Here's how I saw things play out:

The Good

-DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller re-established themselves as one of the best wide receiver duos in the league this game. 13 catches on 19 targets for a combined 234 yards and two touchdowns (both by Hopkins). Whenever Deshaun Watson has Hopkins on the short to intermediate stuff and Fuller stretching the field, it gives him more options in the pass game.

-Deshaun Watson completed 63.3% of his passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns. While he did throw an inexplicable interception and took a sack, he still did enough to guide his team to a win. This kid is going to be a star and eventually lead his team to great things one day.

-The defense came up big against a division rival. Zach Cunningham and Benardrick McKinney combined for 27 tackles, 19 of those were solo tackles. This wasn't an easy game. It was a grinder, and the defense deserves some love for their contribution.

The Bad

-Watson's interception in the 2nd quarter hurt their momentum. The Colts had just punted the ball to the Texans. With a 3-0 lead, they could've taken a two score lead with a touchdown drive. Instead, pressure up the middle tipped the pass and Colts corner Kenny Moore made a great play to pick it off. Sometimes good defense beats good offense.

-Back to back Colt possessions swung momentum back in their favor. At the end of the 1st half, the Texans gave up a field goal to tie the game at 10. To start the 2nd half, the Texans failed on a 4th&3 conversion. The Colts went on an 11 play drive (10 runs, one pass) and scored after Benardrick McKinney failed to make the tackle when he met Jonathan Williams in the gap.

-The Colts ran the ball 39 times for 175 yards at a 4.5 yard per carry clip. Losing the rushing yardage differential by -76, turnover game by -1, and time of possession by almost seven minutes is normally a recipe for a loss. These metrics need to be cleaned up moving forward, or else this team will be out early in the playoffs.

The Ugly

-The Colts convderted 9/15 of their 3rd down conversions. Giving up 60% on 3rd down conversions isn't what good football teams do. If the Texans expect to advance in the AFC playoff picture, they have some work to do as far as 3rd down conversion percentage.

-Dylan Cole went down with a calf injury in the 2nd quarter. He's not only one of their more athletic linebackers, he's alos the leading special teams tackler. Hopefully he's okay as this team, particularly the defense, has suffered enough injuries.

-After the field goal early in the 2nd quarter, I heard them playing "Football Time In Houston" by Clay Walker. Will they PLEASE get rid of that damn song?!? I'm sure there's a rap song they can use that's better. Hell, get a local band to do a rock song. Anything but that tired ass song!

Now that the Texans have won this game and firm control of the AFC South, they have about a 75% chance at making the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Colts have only about a 20% chance to make it. The Texans have five games left: Patriots, Broncos, @Titans, @Bucs, and Titans. None of those teams pose a serious threat outside the Pats. Winning all these games would give them a 12-4 record and a shot at a first round bye depending on what happens with other teams. Winning this game puts them in the driver's seat in the AFC South, and helps them in the race for a first round bye. They'll need some out side help to get first round bye in the playoffs, but health is a major component moving forward. Especially on the defensive side of the ball. With the Pats coming into town next Sunday night, the Texans have a chance to make some noise in the AFC. Next week will be the new biggest game of the Bill O'Brien era.

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