The NFL finally knows what we all knew: Deshaun Watson is special
|Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 12:01 PM- -|
We knew Deshaun Watson was special all along. It just took the NFL a while to learn what we already knew. It takes those guys a while to catch on because they’re more interested in whether a guy looks the part over if he can play.
Watson, the former Clemson quarterback who was taken with the 12th overall pick by the Houston Texans in the 2017 NFL Draft, is off to a blazing start in his rookie season.
Watson led the Texans to a 33-17 victory over the Cleveland Browns Sunday, going 17-of-29 with three touchdowns and an interception. The win was another solid outing for the Gainesville, Georgia, native who has taken the NFL by storm.
Consider some of these facts:
*The Texans scored 279 total points in 2016 (17.4 points per game). Through only six games in 2017, they have put up 177 points (29.5 points per game) and in the last four games, they have produced 157 points (39.2 points per game).
*In his last three games, Watson has a 118.3 passer rating, which is good for any rookie, much less one that is still navigating this way through the early part of his career.
*Watson has thrown more touchdowns through six games than any rookie since the AFL-NFL merger, and the Texans have set a team record with four games in a row of at least 30 points with Watson starting
*Watson is on pace to finish the season with 40 touchdown passes and 3,458 yards. Those are the kinds of numbers that get you invited to the Pro Bowl.
*Watson has thrown for more touchdown passes in the first six games of his team in NFL history. He's tied with Kurt Warner and Mark Rypien for the most by any quarterback in his first six games.
*Watson is the only rookie in league history to throw three or more touchdown passes in three consecutive games with a dozen touchdown passes in his past three games.
*Watson’s completing 61.5 percent of his throws for 1,297 yards. He's rushed for 202 yards and two scores.
I knew Watson was going to be special when I made the trip to Gainesville for one of his practices and the coaches told me that he was caring for his younger siblings while attending school. We wrote a story that day about this remarkable young man, breaking the news about this mother and her illness and giving Clemson fans a glimpse of what was in store.
We all knew it when he marched onto the field in Athens and threw his first collegiate touchdown, a deep ball that went through two defenders and landed in the arms of Charone Peake for a touchdown.
We were amazed when he entered the game at Florida St. a few weeks later and almost beat the defending national champs. A week later he set all kinds of records in his first home start and later in the season defeated archrival South Carolina with one leg and a lot of guts.
He thrilled us with his play in a close loss to Alabama, and he wowed us with his play when Clemson defeated Alabama the next season to win a national title. His final pass as a Tiger went for a touchdown, this one to Hunter Renfrow to win a national championship. His last pass? A touchdown that won a title. That’s the stuff of legends.
Through it all, he continued to do big things off the field, especially in his work with Habitat for Humanity. He graduated in two-and-a-half years. He did all the right things, said all the right things, and was the perfect citizen.
Since he’s arrived in Houston it’s been more of the same. He donated his first game check to three cafeteria workers who were struggling after Hurricane Harvey. He wore a Warren Moon jersey during pregame Sunday to show his appreciation for what Moon accomplished during his own stellar career.
We knew it, but we saw it first-hand. For guys who are more interested in shoe size and bench press reps, it took a little longer.
Now we all know. He’s pretty darn special.