Coming from a guy who also broke his collarbone playing football and knows exactly the rehab that second-year wide out Will Fuller had to endure, I am thoroughly impressed with his production in the first two games of his season. He provides the Houston Texans with something we have never had: a legitimate downfield threat. Time to break down Fuller’s four TDs and discuss just how he has built upon his rookie season.
TD1: 16-yard deep crossing route vs. Tennessee Titans
Already up 14-0, Deshaun Watson decided to test his new weapon immediately in the second quarter.
Looking at zone coverage with a single high safety, Fuller finds a pocket underneath the safety and behind the opposite corner in the end zone. He did a great job of controlling his speed here; if he ran at his full 4.32 speed, he would have run out of the end zone. You can tell Fuller knew he had the safety beat by the way he caught the ball with his body. This was a solid re-introduction into the Texans’ offense. Receptions in the red zone are at a premium, especially when there are only two WRs on the field. With this play, Fuller put the Texans up to 20 points, a total the Titans would never match.
TD2: 10-yard fade route vs. Tennessee Titans
LeShaun Sims of the Titans was in man coverage when Deshaun Watson dropped a dime to the shoulder of Fuller.
At the point of contact, Fuller shook Sims and did not allow him to get any disruption on the route. What I liked about this catch was Fuller’s protection of the ball once he caught it (with his hands. Dilly, dilly!). He immediately brought the ball into his body and away from the defender. I can recall several instances last year where Fuller was stripped of catches by not securing the ball. With five different receivers, the Titans were forced into match-ups they did not want. Fuller on Sims was one of them. This put the Texans up 37-14 midway through the 3rd quarter.
TD3: 5-yard dig-route then scramble for 8-yard TD vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Debatable, but this is my favorite touchdown so far. The next one is flashy, but this is why we chose Fuller in the first-round last year. On fourth-and-inches, DeAndre Hopkins was naturally the first option. When Watson went to throw the post-route to Hopkins, the corner instinctively jumped in front of him, cutting off option one. Watson pump-faked the throw and then rolled right.
When Watson sprung out of the pocket, Fuller’s initial route was going in the opposite direction. Fuller instinctually knew he needed to correct his route and run with Watson, whose momentum would have made it impossible to throw an accurate pass across his body. It also helped that Marcus Peters, covering Fuller, was eyeing Watson and momentarily lost his assignment. Once Watson delivered the ball to Fuller, it was a race to the pylon. The Texans were now trailed the Chiefs 14-23 with three minutes to go in the third quarter.
TD4: 48-yard Deep-Cross vs. Terrance Mitchell of the Kansas City Chiefs
If you want to watch the catch on replay and sit back in your recliner drawing up more Watson-Fuller deep balls, here is the link.
Off the snap, it looks like Mitchell is more worried about Fuller getting to the sideline on 2nd-and-6. This allows Fuller to get inside Mitchell and use his pure speed to put the corner in his back pocket. Surprisingly, Mitchell was step for step almost the entire route until he looked up and stretched out his arms in desperation. My only critique of the catch was that Fuller let the ball drop into his lap instead of attaching the ball with his hands. This catch was everything we hoped Fuller would bring to the team upon his return.
Four touchdowns in two games is nothing to complain about, especially for a guy coming off an injury. Against the Browns on Sunday, Will Fuller V should have continued success.