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Dazzling Deshaun Watson's 4 TDs Lead Texans to Upset vs. Tom Brady, Patriots

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 2, 2019

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) is lifted by center Nick Martin (66) as they celebrate a touchdown against the New England Patriots during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

The Houston Texans did the seemingly impossible and got over the New England Patriots hump, at least for a night.

Houston defeated New England 28-22 in a potential playoff preview Sunday at NRG Stadium. The Texans snapped an eight-game losing streak to the defending champions in the process and improved their all-time record against them to 2-10 thanks largely to Deshaun Watson's four touchdowns.

The Texans also maintained their sole position atop the AFC South at 8-4, which is one game ahead of the 7-5 Tennessee Titans.

As for New England, it is still 10-2 and one game ahead of the 9-3 Buffalo Bills in the AFC East even though it has been pedestrian at best since an 8-0 start.

Houston Texans @HoustonTexans

THE TRICKERY! @deshaunwatson | #NEvsHOU https://t.co/POBDFCMZXu

           

Notable Fantasy Stats

  • HOU QB Deshaun Watson: 18-of-25 passing for 234 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions; one receiving touchdown
  • HOU RB Duke Johnson: nine carries for 36 yards; five catches for 54 yards and one touchdown
  • HOU WR DeAndre Hopkins: five catches for 64 yards; one touchdown pass
  • HOU WR Kenny Stills: three catches for 61 yards and one touchdown
  • NE QB Tom Brady: 24-of-47 passing for 326 yards, three touchdowns and one interception
  • NE RB James White: 14 carries for 79 yards; eight catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns
  • NE WR Julian Edelman: six catches for 106 yards and one touchdown

           

Patriots Offense Is a Mess

There is no doubt the Patriots are Super Bowl contenders once again, and anyone dismissing them after a regular-season loss has not paid attention to the most recent chapter of NFL history.

However, any discussion about the defending champions has to account for the significant difference between their defense and offense at this point. The defense entered Sunday's matchup first in the league in points allowed per game, first in takeaways and second in yards allowed per game.

The offense, on the other hand, managed 17 points and 13 points against the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, respectively, the last two times out and appeared lost once again in Houston until the very end.

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

Tom Brady: PICKED (via @NFL) https://t.co/KmyLBGG4em

Albert Breer @AlbertBreer

Can't remember the last time I saw Tom Brady look this defeated. He just let the play clock run under 10 -- down 19 with 5 minutes left -- then burned a timeout. You NEVER see that with the Patriots. Of course, Brady, in his own way, has let us know there are issues.

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

Pats offense... https://t.co/nTRnjL6dc1

It was the same story right out of the gates, as the Patriots settled for a field goal after driving to the Texans' 5-yard line on their first possession before Tom Brady threw an ugly interception to Bradley Roby that set up a Watson touchdown pass to Duke Johnson on their second possession.

From there, the receivers struggled to get open, the line failed to consistently give Brady adequate time and the quarterback grew visibly frustrated on his way to three first-half points.

The second half didn't bring a drastic turnaround until it was too late and featured another Roby interception that was overturned by penalty, a dropped 4th-down pass from Mohamed Sanu, a missed extra point by Kai Forbath and uninspiring play until two touchdowns in the fourth quarter after Houston had a sizable cushion.

Cian @Cianaf

I could see NE beating SF in a Super Bowl the same way they did the Rams last year but I have no earthly idea how they beat the Ravens with this offense.

Mike Reiss @MikeReiss

According to @NextGenStats, Tom Brady is averaging 3.25 seconds to throw. He has not had any games averaging more than 3.0 seconds to throw this season.

The bottom line is every season is Super Bowl-or-bust in New England, and the offense on display recently is nowhere near good enough to lift the Lombardi Trophy. There is still time to turn things around, but the Patriots are in for a quick playoff exit without drastic offensive improvements.

            

Deshaun Watson Shines Against League's Best Defense

The Texans are in the middle of the playoff picture, but the offense was in need of a confidence boost after it scored 20 points against the Indianapolis Colts and just seven during a 41-7 beatdown at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens the last two games.

There are few better confidence boosts than watching your franchise quarterback carve up the league's best defense for four total touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Deshaun gets his 2nd TD Texans rolling early, 14-3 😯 (via @NFL) https://t.co/hTvaJbSF6H

NFL @NFL

.@DeshaunWatson is getting it done. A 35-yard dart to @KSTILLS to extend the @HoustonTexans' lead! #WeAreTexans 📺: #NEvsHOU on NBC 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/cH1BAKocj5 https://t.co/l8lWeGh1lQ

Rich Eisen @richeisen

The deep throwing game orchestrated by @deshaunwatson was been amazing. Perfectly thrown balls.

Having a short field for the first score helped Watson settle in after a slow start, and he was surgical on the next possession during a 13-play, 88-yard drive that ended with a Darren Fells touchdown.

He busted out the razzle-dazzle in the second half with an absolute dime on the run to Kenny Stills to open a commanding lead after a touchdown pass to Will Fuller V was overturned by replay review on the previous play. It was difficult to top, but he managed to do just that on the receiving end of a pitch from DeAndre Hopkins on a trick option play for his fourth touchdown.

Russillo @ryenarussillo

As bad as the Pats offense is the secondary is getting beat in a way we haven’t seen all season.

NFL Research @NFLResearch

With @deshaunwatson's 4th quarter touchdown currently logged as a RECEIVING TD, Watson has joined Jim McMahon in Week 4, 1985 as the only players to have 3+ pass TD and a receiving TD in a single game in the Super Bowl era. @HoustonTexans | #SNF

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Deshaun Watson has 3 TD passes on the night against the Patriots. This is the 5th time this season Watson has thrown at least 3 TD passes in a game. That’s the most in a single-season in Texans history. https://t.co/Qy6uVFJVPD

Watson was going to be graded on a curve against the mighty Patriots defense regardless of the result, but the daunting nature of his opponent only made Sunday's performance more brilliant.

He completed passes to eight different receivers, had a quick answer whenever New England seized a semblance of momentum and hinted at just how high Houston's ceiling can be when he is playing at his best.

          

What's Next?

Both teams are home against AFC West foes in Week 14. The Texans host the Denver Broncos, while the Patriots face the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC Championship Game rematch.