Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson made his postseason debut on Saturday, though it was a brief experience: the AFC South winners ran into one of the NFL’s hottest teams, the Indianapolis Colts, and fell, 21-7.
Houston was down 21-0 at halftime, and Watson didn’t look sharp for long stretches.
And a quirky personal streak for Watson ended.
Colts join Buford High
Recently, Watson said he hadn’t started and finished a game and lost by more than a touchdown since his days at Gainesville High School in Georgia. It’s a remarkable streak, one that illustrates Watson’s ability to keep his teams in games and bring them back when they get behind.
Watson started and played every snap this season, started six games last season before his season-ending knee injury, and had his standout career at Clemson.
Before Saturday, the last team to beat Watson and the team he was quarterbacking by more than a touchdown was Buford High, during Watson’s senior year of high school, a 38-14 blowout.
First interception in weeks
Watson enjoyed a tremendous stretch over the final six weeks of the regular season, completing at least 70 percent of his passes in each game and not throwing a single interception.
One thing that Watson endured all season and didn’t change against Indianapolis: his protection. Watson was sacked three times and hit eight.
The Colts were criticized by some for taking a guard (Quenton Nelson) with the sixth overall pick in last year’s draft, but Andrew Luck was sacked only 18 times in 16 games. The Texans need to make the same kind of investment for Watson.
Loss not all on Watson
The loss, of course, isn’t all on Watson: the Texans’ top running backs, Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue, contributed little (seven carries for 26 yards combined), and Watson was the Texans’ leading rusher, with 76 yards on eight carries.
There was also the question of fourth-quarter clock management; Houston’s one touchdown drive which began in the third quarter and ended in the fourth, was 16 plays and took over six minutes; their last possession ended with a turnover on downs after 11 plays and nearly four minutes eaten off the clock.
The Texans’ defense settled down and posted a second-half shutout, but Luck and the Colts moved the ball with relative ease over the first and second quarters.
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