As a great birthday present, Deshaun Watson got his first NFL win in his first start with a 13-9 win over the Bengals in Cincinnati on Thursday Night Football.
Watson finished the game 15 of 24 for 125 yards, five carries for 67 yards with a touchdown, and most importantly, no turnovers.
After being unable to get much of anything going, Watson faced a 3rd and 15 with about a minute left to go in the first half when he scrambled for 49 yards and his first rushing touchdown of what is sure to be an illustrious career.
Geno Atkins knocked some fire into DeShaun Watson. What an electric TD run. 🔥 pic.twitter.com/9CvcHS88EP
— LeadingNFL ™ (@LeadingNFL) September 15, 2017
Still missing Duane Brown because of his holdout, the offensive line was still very questionable, but the improvement was there. Watson was only sacked three times while as a team, the Texans were able to rush for 168 yards off 35 carries.
What Watson was able to accomplish is truly a testament to his skill set as he had none of the three tight ends that started the season and only three wide receivers were able to suit up. DeAndre Hopkins led the way with 73 yards on 7 receptions as he’s starting to look like the Nuk we’re accustomed to seeing.
Defensively, it was all about Kareem Jackson and Benardrick McKinney. Jackson led the team with seven tackles and a forced fumble that was recovered by Clowney for a 49 yard return while McKinney tied for second with six tackles but led the way with two sacks and three TFLs.
John Ross first career touch in the NFL is a fumble recovered by Jadeveon Clowney. pic.twitter.com/edYDbgfBWw
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) September 15, 2017
The team defense was visibly better this go around and managed to not only hold the Bengals to three field goals, but they limited Andy Dalton and company to only 295 yards.
After missing all but three games last year, it only makes sense that JJ Watt come along slow to begin the season. He has yet to record a sack, but his presence did not go unnoticed. He was creating more disruptive pressure in the backfield and seemed to get more comfortable as the game progressed.
He even provided the cherry on top of the win by tackling Bengals starting center Russell Bodine with the best form tackle I’ve seen from a Texan this season.
LMAOOOOOOO JJ WATT pic.twitter.com/La9SYzZowm
— #BeatFlorida (@_ChefDon_) September 15, 2017
Compared to the Jaguars game on Sunday, the Texans came up relatively unscathed. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph injured his right shoulder in the first half while on the other side of the field, Kevin Johnson injured his left knee in the third quarter and neither of the two starters returned.
Thanks to this game being played on a Thursday, the Texans have a mini-bye before their next one. Hopefully the extra days off will allow enough time for J-Jo and Johnson to recover and hopefully tight ends Ryan Griffin and Stephen Anderson can clear the concussion protocol and return in time for the Texans’ biggest challenge of the year.
The Texans (1-1) will head up to Foxborough to face the Patriots (0-1) on Sept. 24 at noon.
As we all know too well, the Patriots have had the Texans’ number for quite some time, so for the Texans to have a chance, the offensive will have to improve upon Thursday’s performance and the defense will have to continue their upward trend as they will try to hold a team under 300 net yards for a third straight week.