SEATTLE — This week was supposed to be tougher, a “true test” for rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson going into Seattle to face the No. 1 scoring defense that had held five of six opponents to fewer than 20 points.
And although Watson could not make up for a defense that struggled down the stretch, allowing two touchdowns in the fourth quarter after the rookie gave the Texans the lead, he showed he and the Texans’ offense are a legitimate threat. The rookie quarterback was 19-of-30 for 402 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions with a passer rating of 119.6. His first interception was a pick-six on the Texans’ second drive of the day, and the last came on Watson’s last pass of the game as he was attempting one more comeback drive in the 41-38 loss.
Watson and the Texans’ offense continued to do what teams have not done in Seattle. The Texans’ 14 first-quarter points are the first time the Seahawks have allowed 14 points in the first quarter of a home game since 2012, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Seattle also entered the game having allowed just two points and no touchdowns in the first quarter. Before Sunday, the Seahawks also had not given up a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Entering Sunday, the Texans had faced only two teams that ranked in the top 10 of opponent Total QBR: the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals, according to ESPN Stats & Information. In those two games, Watson threw for just 227 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. The other four games were against teams that ranked 19th or lower in opponent QBR and Watson averaged 267.5 passing yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Watson continued to find second-year receiver Will Fuller in the end zone. Fuller had two touchdown catches, including a 59-yard reception on the first drive of the game. In four games since returning from a broken collarbone, Fuller has 11 catches, seven of which were for touchdowns. On Sunday, he had five catches for 125 yards.
Fuller’s speed has been a huge help to this offense as he continues to draw coverage deep down the field and take away defenders from wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. In Sunday’s victory, Hopkins had eight catches for 224 yards, his second game this season with more than 100 receiving yards and the second-highest total in his career. It is also the most in a game by any receiver this season.
Although Watson found success against the Seahawks, it won’t get too much easier the rest of the way, as the Texans will play four of the teams ranked in the top six in opponent QBR down the stretch. Watson does get a break next week against the Indianapolis Colts, which entered the game ranked 32nd in scoring defense, allowing 31.7 points per game.