In this weeks volume of Watson Watch I break down the film of the Colts, Jets, Eagles and Jaguars games. On a ridiculous 9 game winning streak the Houston Texans looked to keep it going and push the bounds of the impossible. The first test? The rival Indianapolis Colts come to Houston.
Watson Watch Volume 6: 2018 Weeks 13-17
Week 13: Vs. Indianapolis Colts
Deshaun Watson had a solid day, finishing 27-38 for 267 yards, 1 TD and 0 INTs. The box score can only tell us so much though, so let's dive into the film and see what happened.
I hate this play, I hate it so much. If you've been following along you'll know that Deshaun Watson has really struggled dealing with the nickel blitz, which started from the Browns game this year. The Colts abuse it whenever we play and if Watson has nightmares about anyone sacking him, it aint a defensive lineman, it's FREAKING KENNY MOORE. He looks like he's covering the slot but blitzes instead and Watson never sees it. He needs to get better at reading this and sliding the protection in that direction.
Deshaun will only stay down for so long though, and he shows off some of that Watson magic we all know and love on this play. He doesn't like anything to the left of the field and starts to take off. He wants to cut it up the middle but runs into his OL, and is forced to take it wider. He looks downfield, scanning for anything open and finds Jordan Akins all alone down the sideline. He rips one on a wire and hits Akins in a perfect position to make a catch before the defender closes in. Deshaun is a top 3 QB in throwing on the run, and while that may not sound like much, he's right there with stiff competition in Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson. That's some competition.
Here's a simple concept I would love for the Texans to run more, and I think they will with how they'v constructed the offense with deep threats. It's just a simple four verticals, where everyone is running deep. This is a perfect call for the Colts Cover 3 blitz as we can attack the seams and force defenders to choose someone to guard and leave someone open. As you can see the safety at the bottom of the screen comes down into a curl flat zone and picks up Demaryius Thomas, leaving Ryan Griffen running right behind him. Deshaun makes a perfect throw to hit Griffen in stride and help him get great YAC on the play.
Down 10 and with the chance to keep the winning streak alive, Watson once again made magic happen. Nothing was open early and so Watson scrambles out to the left. In these scenarios he's almost always looking for Hopkins, but on this play he's running to the opposite side of the field. Hopkins ends up stopping once he realizes Watson needs help, and Watson fires it across his body, a very risky throw especially with the number of Colts defenders in the area. But it somehow gets through and finds Hopkins for 6!
Unfortunately that Touchdown wasn't enough. The Colts got the ball back and the defense needed a big stop. They couldn't get it done, as the Colts got a 1st down and went into victory formation. It was heartbreaking. It was the type of loss that stuck with you until next Sunday. Losing the streak to the COLTS of all teams hurt the most. I HATE THE MF COLTS. I'm pissed off all over again just writing this lol, onto the next week.
Week 14: Vs. New York Jets
After the loss to the Colts the Texans had two options, continue to spiral and potentially miss the playoffs, or bounce back, get composed, and keep fighting. Guess which one they did? Against the Jets Watson would not accept two losses in a row. He went OFF, finishing 22/28 for 298 yards, 2 TDs and 0 INTs.
The first play I want to look at is something that I don't think we're going to see much of next year. A classic back shoulder fade to Nuk from the slot. The CB is draped all over Nuk, who isn't able to separate much. But it doesn't matter because Watson gives him such a perfect throw, away from the CB, so that Nuk can bring it in easily. The WRs we have now don't really have this skillset, which is fine btw. The scheme needs to change and routes like these just won't really be asked of anyone. But it's still a beautiful throw by Watson, and I hope the Texans give him a possession WR again, because he's always succeeded with a jump ball guy.
This is one of the most beautiful throws I've ever seen. At first glance you might think Watson was inaccurate and Hopkins had to adjust to the throw, but Watson meant to throw it like this. Hopkins is running a skinny post but the Safety has inside leverage on him and won't let him cross his face. He follows Hop downfield but Watson throws him open by putting it to Hop's right, and away from the Safety. Hop sees the change in flight of the ball, but the Safety doesn't. The result? TOUCHDOWN!
This next throw came on a clutch drive to put the Texans in the lead, and eventually win the game. Watson and Demaryius Thomas built some really great chemistry, and it's too bad he got injured. But on this play when Watson is scrambling to the right, Thomas does great to continue trying to work to get open and Watson rewards him. Great throw with enough juice on it and Thomas brings it in nicely. This kept the chains moving and got us in range for a touchdown throw.
What's that saying? That Deshaun Watson is the Michael Jordan of football? Yeah, makes sense. His clutch factor is on another level and we see that here with a perfect clutch throw to take the lead and win the game. Hopkins is 1-on-1 on the outside, which is exactly what Watson wants. Nuk is smothered by the CB and doesn't separate at all. But much like the first throw I showed from this game, Watson throws him open so it doesn't even matter. Such a perfectly placed ball to the sideline and away from the CB where only Nuk can get it. TOUCHDOWN!!! GAME OVER!
Week 15: Vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Hot off a close W against the Jets it was time to take on the Eagles, who were looking really good. Watson went to BATTLE this game and did everything he could to get the W. He finished 29/40 for 339 yards, 4 TDs and 0 INTs. He made some ridiculous video game like throws in this game, and should've won it, if the defense could do ANYTHING late in the game.
After Jadeveon Clowney (PLEASE COME BACK) forced a fumble and recovered it on the Jets 5 yard line, Watson and the offense were put in a perfect position to score. The Texans went to Watson on a read option and he played it perfectly. Selling the handoff nicely, then taking off, following his block, cutting it upfield and into the end zone for 6!
Deshaun was running for his life most of this game, that Eagles pass rush was NASTY. More of the same on this play, as he drops back he doesn't like anything, but sees the left side of the field wide open and extremely inviting. He takes off super fast and no one is catching him. Are we sure that's not the Flash?
More of Deshaun scrambling and making magic happen. Who remembers D'Onta Foreman? I remember being soooo excited for him and thinking he was gonna be a steal for us, maaan :( Anyways, Watson scrambles out to the right but instead of just taking off like last time, he knows he can't make it to the endzone and scans the field. He sees Foreman wide open in the middle of the field and lasers one into him for the TOUCHDOWN. He was just pulling shit out of his ass at this point and I loved every bit of it.
Deshaun Watson just seems to put on cheat codes whenever a clutch drive is needed. The Texans got the ball back down 6 with 4:00 minutes left in the 4th and Watson needed to lead them into the end zone. He did exactly that, even though he was working with Deandre Carter and Vyncint Smith at WR. Yes, Vyncint Smith, from Limestone College. He got open deep and Watson launched a bomb to him, perfectly placed with just enough space to stay in bounds. I honestly thought he was out when watching this live, but I should've known better than to doubt Deshaun's talents.
What a TOUCHDOWN and that really got me so hype, I thought a W was guaranteed, but the defense couldn't hold up and the Eagles marched down the field, stealing the W out of our hands. It was honestly really demoralizing, but we looked really good against one of the top teams in the league, and it helped our case for being a contender.
Week 17: Vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
So as I'm typing this I realized I mis-numbered the weeks somewhere because I didn't account for the bye week. So this is Week 17 and the last game of the season, but don't worry, I didn't short change you and miss a game lol. Against the Jaguars this game didn't matter, as the Texans had already clinched the playoffs. But it's always great to stomp on a divisional opponent. Watson finished 25/35 for 234 yards, 0 TDS and 0 INTs, but he also led the team in rushing yards with 66 and a rushing TD. Let's not let that happen many times lol.
Let's look at that rushing TD right now; the Texans may have to go to running Deshaun more in the red zone this year. Without Hopkins running a slant and winning 9/10 times, we've got to go somewhere else. And winning in close quarters isn't really the rest of our WRs strengths. But running option plays like these that get Watson out in space could help us keep up an efficient red zone offense. Look at him make that poor defender miss with the juke. Whew, see ya buddy!
Here's another nice play which gets Watson a ton of yards. We use Jordan Akins nicely as an H-Back and he makes a really key block. From there, Watson takes off, makes another guy miss and gets a nice 16 yards. We've shown a lot of his great work through the air, but we can't forget he's still one of the most dominant rushing QBs in the NFL, when he's asked to.
Okay, I'm making the executive decision to just show great running plays for this entire Jaguars game, because Watson was just putting on a show, Lamar Jackson who?? I think this fake handoff is really underrated. He gets Lamar Miller killed here, but look at how long he holds the ball in the pocket of Miller for. It causes the DE to crash down and kill Miller, but then Watson has such a clear lane for take off and his acceleration downfield is crazy to see. He gets the 1st down and has the awareness to slide. Watson finds a great balance between avoiding unnecessary hits, and putting his body on the line for the team. I LOVE THAT!
One last run play from Watson here and the technique is sublime. The defense just never has a chance to even touch him. From the second he snaps the ball to the time he hits the ground, they don't even breathe on him. Look at how he brings the knee down into the ground so quickly. No wasted motion, it's just so fluid. The athleticism is ridiculous. And then the perfect flick of the wrist to throw the ball to the ref! Watson could excel in the NBA too! Okay, on a serious note, I felt like it was symbolic to end this season on a QB kneel in victory formation. It's always a comforting view when you see the offense come out in this formation and it was clear we were ready to move on and prepare for the Colts.
Tune in for next week's volume of Watson Watch which will be solely looking at the 2018 playoffs game against the Colts. It's gonna be... interesting to look through that's for sure. But seriously, you can honestly learn more from losses than wins, so it'll be great to breakdown the film, see where we went wrong, and what we need to fix. Thanks for reading!