We are two days removed from Deshaun Watson's return to NRG Stadium, and there are still some crumbs left behind that are worth digging into. From an emotional standpoint, it feels like both sides, Watson and the Texans fans, have kind of moved on. Watson was very clear that he has a season to focus on, and I think Texan fans now feel like they can zero in on everyone who needs to be fired within their team in order to return to some semblance of relevance.
Hey, now, keep in mind that Watson DOES return to NRG Stadium again in 2023, provided he continues to live up to his end of the discipline bargain he's made with the league. So if he attends all of his therapy sessions, and can keep off of his Instagram DMs, we do this all over again next season. Fun, fun!
When that day does roll around in 2023, Lovie Smith or whoever is coaching the Texans at that time, can point to one of the best defensive performances of the season, at least in terms of shutting down the opposing team's passing game, as a source of hope that the outcome in 2023 will be different for the Texans.
Granted, Watson will not have gone 700 days without playing in a regular season game come next season, but hey, you take whatever ray of sunshine you can find, Texan fans! In that spirit, know this — the Texans on Sunday held Watson to the worst performance of his career, which only makes the Texans' offensive mistakes, that cost them the game, sting more.
For sake of reference, and to take a trip down "Negative Deshaun Watson Memory" Lane, here were the other six games in Watson's NFL career in which he didn't attain a passer rating of at least 70.0:
60.4 passer rating
vs JAGUARS, Week 1, 2017 (L, 27-9, BOX)
This was Deshaun Watson's first NFL game ever, and a game he didn't even start. The Jaguars came into Houston and destroyed Tom Savage's career in one half of football, and from there, it was the Deshaun Watson show for the next four seasons.
61.6 passer rating
vs BILLS, Week 6, 2018 (W, 20-13, BOX) This was the third game in a nine game winning streak after an 0-3 start for the Texans. This game was won by a Johnathan Joseph pick six in the waning moments off of Bills QB Nathan Peterman, who was replacing an injured rookie named Josh Allen. The week after this game, Watson would have to ride a bus to Jacksonville because his lung was punctured from the abuse he took in this game.
62.5 passer rating
at BUCCANEERS, Week 16, 2019 (W, 23-20, BOX) This was the second to last game of the 2018 season. This game was marked by opposing QB Jameis Winston throwing a pick six on the opening drive, and then a near pick six on the Bucs' second drive. This was one of just two games in Watson's career in which he had no passing nor rushing touchdowns.
62.9 passer rating
at PATRIOTS, Week 1, 2018 (L, 27-20, BOX) This was the season opener in Watson's second season. In this game, Watson and Lamar Miller fumbled the exchange on the opening snap, and it was all downhill from there. The Texans would start this season 0-3.
63.1 passer rating
vs DEN, Week 14, 2019, (L, 38-24, BOX) This was the week after perhaps the biggest win in the Bill O'Brien Era. In Week 13, the Texans finally vanquished the New England Patriots. Unfortunately, the Texans had the most massive letdown in team history, and by halftime of this game against Denver (and a rookie QB named Drew Lock), they trailed 38-3 at halftime, which led to this: 63.7 passer rating
at RAVENS, Week 11, 2019 (L, 41-7, BOX) This was the other game in which Watson had no passing touchdowns nor rushing touchdowns. This was a highly anticipated matchup between Watson and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson. Jackson won going away, and would go on to win MVP of the league that season.
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.