This post can be prefaced with the statement that the Atlanta Falcons are not a good defensive team. However, nothing could bring the fans more joy than to see the surgical ops job QB Deshaun Watson pulled on the Desperate Housebirds of Atlanta on Sunday in a 53-32 shellacking.
During most of Watson's tenure with the Texans, he has been terrific, especially for someone who even now has less than two full seasons of NFL football under his belt. Normally, when the Texans have lost the blame was mostly elsewhere or at worse with some portion of the blame on Deshaun, but most of it elsewhere. Last week's loss to Carolina was mostly on him with another chunk of the blame on the O-line. But he missed wide open receivers, missed open check downs, and along with being inaccurate seemed just not in sync the whole day.
But Deshaun being Deshaun, he did not just sit around the clubhouse expounding on how it was on him and he had to get better. He went out on the field and worked on "stuff" right after the game. We knew this guy was special when he rode a bus to Jacksonville in order to play with a partially collapsed lung. But the type of leadership it takes to not only verbally admit failure, but to immediately do something about it, to wash that bad taste out of his mouth is special.
And special was the afternoon that both Deshaun Watson and his top offensive toy Will Fuller had. The Falcons doubled on DeAndre Hopkins and it resulted in them choosing other poisons as Watson completed 28 of 33 for 426 yds, 0 interceptions and more importantly - 0 sacks. Oh and he threw 5 TDs - splitting them between Fuller (3 TDS to go along with 14!!!! receptions and 217!!!! yards) and "blocking" tight end 6'-7" Darren Fells (2 receptions/ 2 TDS).
It was exciting to see the precision Deshaun showed in dissecting the Falcons defense. His James Harden dribble drive 30 yard run in the third quarter was lucky with the ovoid bouncing straight back up to him, but his talent allowed him to turn a potentially disastrous play into an insane first down on a big TD drive right out of the half.
Pluses on the Day
- Duke Johnson had a solid day 9 for 59 yds with a terrific 24 yd scoot included
- Carlos Hyde had rough going with 21 carries for 61 yds, but a number of times he was not to be denied at the goal line and on certain short yardage plays (which the Texans have failed at over the last few years).
- Even though overshadowed by Fuller's transcendent performance, both DeAndre Hopkins (7 catches for 88 yds) and Keke Coutee (3 catches for 72 yds, including a 51 yd field flipper) had good days
- D.J. Reader continued to give pressure up the middle and had another sack out of the nose guard position in what has to be considered a break-out year.
- JJ had 5 QB hits and a sack for the day in another solid performance considering the double and triple teams
- Tashaun Gipson had the icing on the cake 79 yd pick six that put this game to bed as he wound through a sea of plodding linemen for the score.
- Bryan Anger only had to punt once (after the first drive of the game) and then only appeared for XP and FG snaps
- Coach BOB kept the pedal to the metal in the 4th quarter and did not go into turtle mode to preserve a lead
- Deshaun Watson and his offense were a terrific 10 for 13 on 3rd down plays
Minuses of the Day
- K'aimi Fairbairn did make both his FG attempts, including a 50 yarder in the first half, but......he missed 2 of his 7 extra point tries. The first miss helped the Falcons to a one point lead at the half and kept them within one score until the Watson to Fuller 44 yd TD just after the two minute warning at the end of the game.
- DeAndre Carter has been the best kick returner the Texans have had in a long time, but his muffed punt to start the 4th quarter with the Texans up 33-17 and ready to deliver the death blow, kept Atlanta alive and kicking down the stretch. It was the Texans only turnover on the day, though they luckily scooped up four!!! of their other fumbles on the day.
- The defense was good against a Falcon rushing attack that has been poor to date. They were not good against Matt Ryan and his flying circus as he went 32 for 46 and 330 yds and 3 TDs on the day. The defense allowed the Falcons to make 9 of 16 third down attempts and six Falcon receivers had 40 yds or more in receptions. On the plus side all-World WR Julio Jones was held to 3 catches for 42 yds.
- The Texans had 9 penalties for 89 yds, out-drawing the most penalized team in the league.
- As pointed out above they had 5 fumbles on the day and recovering 4 of them kept this from being a very disappointing day
Sunday fans got to watch the "Fun" Deshaun operate and it brought back memories of the shootouts he led as a rookie in 2017 and the 5 TD Miami game from 2018.
"Fun" Deshaun come back anytime!