Quarterback Deshaun Watson completed 20-of-32 for 253 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Watson didn’t attack down the field, as was the expectation when the Texans assembled Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller, and Kenny Stills in the same receiving corps. Instead, the two-time Pro Bowler stuck to the middle of the field in the intermediate passing game.
So, the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes just outplayed Watson with his 24-of-32 for 211 yards and three touchdowns, right? Even the passer rating proves as much with Mahomes compiling 123.3 to Watson’s 84.5.
Not so fast. According to Pro Football Reference, Watson was the better quarterback on the evening, but not by much.
🔸 Mahomes had a turnover-worthy pass dropped
🔸 Watson had a big-time throw dropped
🔸 Mahomes missed an easy TD pass on a quick out
🔸 Mahomes 18% pressure rate; Watson 35%
🔸 45% of Watson's 10+ yard throws were accurate; 25% for Mahomes
— PFF (@PFF) September 11, 2020
Watson remarked after the game that he was efficient, but the problem was the Kansas City defense did an expert job of taking away the downfield passing attack. Therefore, Watson simply went with what was available when he surveyed the field.
“I mean, I was sharp,” Watson said. “I took what the defense gave me, and they took away a lot of the deep shots. I tried to get my guys some opportunities to make plays and sometimes we capitalized, sometimes we didn’t. We just have to continue to grow from there. I did what I needed to do to stay as close as possible and keep this team in reach to try to win the game.”
The Texans will have a chance to get back on track and kickstart their deep passing game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 20 in the NRG Stadium opener. All that matters for Watson is delivering a win for the Texans, not outplaying the opposing quarterback by any metrics one wants to use.