On the final Sunday of October, the Seattle Seahawks host the Houston Texans, led by rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, who may finally be the long-term solution Houston has been looking for since the Matt Schaub era ended in an avalanche of pick-sixes.
In just five starts (plus the whole of the second-half in the season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars), Watson has thrown a whopping 15 touchdowns to just 5 interceptions. Only Carson Wentz has more TD passes than Watson, who is level with Tom Brady and Alex Smith.
Watson is just 12 touchdowns away from surpassing the NFL single-season mark for touchdown passes thrown by a rookie quarterback. The current holders are Peyton Manning and a certain Russell Carrington Wilson. My personal tiebreaker is the fact that Wilson’s TD% is higher (6.6% to Peyton’s 4.5%), and he had 18 fewer interceptions than Manning, so he should be 1A and Peyton as 1B.
Following the Brock Osweiler debacle, Houston traded up in the 2017 draft to choose the former Clemson star and national championship hero at #12 overall. Head coach Bill O’Brien still opted to start Tom Savage on opening day, and the “Sacksonville” defense chased Savage out of there by halftime. Watson didn’t have great numbers against either the Jaguars or in his first start vs. Cincinnati, but he’s a breath of fresh air and genuinely exciting to watch. Houston has scored at least 33 points in each of its last four games, and Watson’s TD% is an absurdly high (and surely unsustainable) 8.6%. As of week 7, he leads the league in QBR at 80.8.
With the Texans defense badly compromised with the season-ending injuries to J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, there’s increased responsibility on Watson’s shoulders to help guide Houston to the top of the AFC South. Even beyond this weekend’s game in Seattle, it’s worth watching Watson to see his development, and whether or not he’ll be part of the next generation of star quarterbacks in the NFL.
Now with all of that said... he’s not yet played in an environment as intimidating as CenturyLink Field, and the Seahawks are by far the best pass defense he’s played against since Jacksonville. If there’s one way to lessen the chances of Russell Wilson’s rookie record being broken, it’s the Legion of Boom keeping Watson out of the end zone.