Offensive Review of Patriots Game
The immediate reaction of the Sunday night showdown was that the Houston Texans finally gained much needed momentum and were finally able to slay the defending Super Bowl champs. Watson only needed to complete 18 passes, as DeAndre Hopkins and company were able to find openings in the middle of the field all night long. No receiver topped 64 yards, but eight different players caught passes in the game.
One of the more noticeable takeaways from this game was head coach Bill O’Brien‘s aggressiveness and savvy play calling from start to finish. It started with giving Duke Johnson the majority of the touches as a hard-nose steamroller, who totaled 36 yards rushing and 54 receiving out of the backfield. He was able to perfectly utilize a flat route against Kyle Van Noy in the red zone for an easy touchdown, and he proved his worth in a larger role.
Once the run had been established early on, O’Brien called for a run-pass option and Watson used the play-action to find Darren Fells on a quick touchdown strike. His presence in the goal line this season cannot be understated, as he continues his career season with eight scores on the year.
My favorite sequence of the game was actually two consecutive calls, both equally bold. Right at the start of the second half, Watson found speedster Will Fuller burning the secondary for an apparent score. However, he rediscovered his “fumblitis” and the catch was overruled. The very next play was nearly identical, but the call was to Kenny Stills this time, who secured a 35-yard score and a 21-3 lead.
Lastly, you can’t mention this game without bringing up the play that looked like it was straight out a Madden trick playbook. On a double reverse that went from Watson-to-Johnson-to-Hopkins, the star receiver darted to the edge and threw a very risky looking pitch back to the quarterback.
Watson used his athleticism to snag the pitch, outrun confused defenders and squeeze into the corner of the end zone for the coolest touchdown all season. I would say hats off to O’Brien, though he purported that the play was drawn up by the players on a piece of paper during practice the week prior.