Melissa’s Monday Musings: Deshaun Watson Already a Superstar

“You played the best game any quarterback has ever played against us, and we’ve played all the legends. I respect how you hung in there and kept battling and battling.” – Richard Sherman on Deshaun Watson to The MMQB

The Houston Texans may have lost 41-38 in dramatic fashion in Seattle Sunday but Deshaun Watson won the hearts and confidence of anyone still on the fence about his star power. Watson’s numbers – 402 passing yards and 4 touchdowns – were astounding, though hardly an outlier. Watson has thrown at least three touchdowns in four consecutive games, the first rookie to do so, and with 19 total touchdowns has passed Kurt Warner for the most touchdowns thrown in the first seven games of a career.

Watson’s stats are mindboggling, as is his ability to sling it downfield with ease as if he were an aerial conveyer belt. NFL QB guru Cian Fahey notes that of Watson’s 18 passes in the first quarter Sunday, 12 traveled over 10 yards, and 7 traveled over 20 yards.

Frequent highlights, like the beautiful 59-yard TD strike to Will Fuller, keep solidifying Watson’s status as the Rookie of the Year frontrunner. But his confidence marching into Seattle, the hardest place to play in football, and putting on a show like he did Sunday is the early stuff of legends.

Waston’s play wasn’t perfect – he threw three interceptions – but this kid is the total package. The comparisons to Russell Wilson, who matched Watson for the dramatic Sunday and got the W, were plentiful after the game. But Watson with his quick release, ability to read the field, pocket awareness, general energy and ability to scramble conjures up images of Wilson, RGIII and Andrew Luck from 2012 all rolled into one. He’s that special.

In just seven starts Watson possesses the ability to convince you he can pull off any late fourth quarter drive. It comes from talent but also intangibles, excelling in the moment. No situation is too big.  Watson didn’t get the win yesterday but he has plenty of W’s in his future.

Bill O’Brien has been largely mocked for his decision to start the season with Tom Savage but credit O’Brien with the ability to pivot to Watson and install a new offensive scheme. The move was pretty dramatic in terms of style with Savage being a generic drop back passers and Watson being a slinger who thrives with misdirection.

Overall, Watson’s quick rise was well-timed. Aside from Carson Wentz and Derek Carr (and sometimes Cam Newton), there are no other QBs under 30 poised to carry the torch from the Brady-Manning-Brees era. It’s too early to put him in that category, especially given the enhanced scheme fit and current caliber of receiver talent at his disposal. Same with the others mentioned.  But what we’ve see from Watson is incredibly promising and absolutely enthralling to watch.


A few more Week 8 musings…

– Love Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster so much. His route running. His hands. His swagger. His 7 catches, 183 yards and a mega score. His Twitter account is absolute gold and the whole Smith-Schuster experience is like its own performance art.

All told I completely forgot about Martavis Bryant’s existence until cameras showed him looking despondent on the sidelines. Here’s hoping the Steelers wide receiver room can stay harmonious after Smith-Schuster big day.


– Imagine if we all had a dollar for every time John Fox ran it on first down. Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky had a career-high 32 attempt and 164 passing yards (!) in the loss to New Orleans but there was still not enough gunslinging from the kid who showed us so much of it in the preseason. The Bears are still so conservative that I’m starting to buy into the notion, prevalent in Chicago sports talk circles, that Fox believes simplicity is the path to saving his job. Unlike O’Brien with Watson, Fox has done almost nothing to cater his offense to Trubiky’s strengths.


– Cowboys-Redskins was constantly billed as the best rivalry in the NFL in the lead up. The NFL is a hype machine and Fox is just doing its job, but hello Ravens-Steelers! Also, this series is way too one-sided; Cowboys lead 69-44-2 and have now won five straight at FedEx field. Washigton hates Dallas. Dallas mildly dislikes Washington. At least that’s the sense I also got based on my years living in DC and taking to a smattering of Cowboys fans about the subject.


– So impressed by how the Bills adjusted defensively after Derek Carr and the Raiders methodically drove down the field for a touchdown on the opening drive. It seemed as if Oakland was picking up where they left off against Kansas City last Thursday. Well, they didn’t score again until there were four minutes left in what had become a very lopsided game.


– The 49ers may be the most functional 0-8 team in years in the sense that there is no known in fighting and more importantly, no questions about strategy. The coaching has been spot on; the roster just lacks talent across the board, and especially at QB. Had Brian Hoyer been even 15% better than he was the 49ers could have 3-4 wins at this point. There is no where to go except straight to thinking about personnel for next season. At least GM John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have been given the rope to do so.


– Prayers up to Bears TE Zach Miller who suffered a gruesome leg injury in the end zone, one which was deemed a knee dislocation. Now Adam Schefter reports that vascular surgeons are trying to save Miller’s leg.


– Why has no one given Pete Carroll a gum contract? Sideline reporter Dana Jacobson even disclosed Carroll gum of choice, Bubblicious. Seriously, this is a slam game.


– Being a woman in sports, social media a never-ending armpit of nastiness. Having Colin Kaepernick retweet you and then getting copied on a million responses is an entirely other level. Seriously, I feel for humanity and can’t believe the crap Kaepernick has to see on a per minute basis.


– Read SI’s Greg Bishop for the inside scoop on the Texans players and owner Bob McNair in the wake of his ‘inmate’ comments.


– Can the NFL please find a super weather guru so they pick a weekend when it is not downpouring across the entire Northeast to play a heavy slate of home games there?


– Big thank you to the New York Jets for providing an awesome VIP experience for a couple of TFGers. They went on the field and stood in the tunnel as the Jets lined up to for their fog-filled introductions. But the best sighting may have been this: Arthur Blank eating his cupcake with a fork and knife. Rich people, man.


– Of course candy corn is the best Halloween candy. It’s specially made for the holiday, after all. Why is this even a debate?