Deshaun Watson won his first career start Thursday, beating the Bengals, 13-9, in Cincinnati. It wasn’t a pretty game, and Watson, at times, looked like a rookie making his first start. But in the end, his legs were the difference.
Watson ran five times for 67 yards, with most of that coming on a 49-yard touchdown run just before halftime. The offensive line also gave Watson time in the pocket, which allowed him to find DeAndre Hopkins seven times for 73 yards and move the sticks.
While the O-Line fared better in Week 2, that may have been, in part, because of Watson.
“He didn’t get the first-team reps because they have Tom Savage out there (during) training camp, and then they just never really were opening up the competition – and all of a sudden, they made a change, mostly because they couldn’t protect Tom Savage at all,” Houston Chronicle Texans writer Aaron Wilson said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I think that their offensive line din’t have much of a chance to do that, but with Deshaun Watson, it’s a whole different dimension. I think it opens up a lot of possibilities. Who knows how good he’ll become or how good this offense will be? They have some limitations and he has some things he needs to work on in terms of accuracy. But he’s a winner. He’s an athlete. He’s got a lot of skills and tools to work with. So he’s an exciting young player.”
Savage didn’t get much of a chance in Week 1, going 7-of-13 for 62 yards before getting benched. Nevertheless, Watson will be the Texans’ starter going forward.
“Barring injury, yeah,” Wilson said. “Even though they didn’t declare it, my understanding from talking to people around the team is that they want this to be a permanent switch. They want to have this not just be a cameo appearance by Deshaun Watson and flip-flop back. They want this to stick very much. That’s one of the biggest agendas right now of the organization, is to get Deshaun Watson developed and make him the guy for many years to come.”
Houston (1-1) plays the Patriots in Foxborough in Week 3. Next Sunday’s kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.