One day after the Astros won their first World Series in franchise history, the Texans lost star rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson for the season – to, of all things, a non-contact ACL tear at practice.
The reaction in Houston? Despair.
“It was like a big punch to the gut,” Houston’s SportsRadio 610 host Paul Gallant said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “Things have been feeling pretty good here just fan-wise and honestly watching-wise. There’s a mindset in this city. It’s that Houston is always going to have something bad happen. They win the World Series, and everyone is feeling very happy. This team is extremely likable and from what they came from in 2011 to where they are now is really just an incredible story.”
The Astros went 56-106 in 2011. Then 55-107 in 2012. Then 51-111 in 2013. They finally turned the corner in 2014, going a relatively respectable 70-92. Then they actually had two winning seasons.
And then they won the World Series.
Happiness. Bliss. Euphoria.
And then Watson happened.
“This is a football city, and Deshaun Watson has given a lot of people a fresh boost of energy that they sorely needed,” Gallant said. “This offense has been just tough to watch over the last three years. As someone who has been watching Bill O’Brien, you’ve been thinking, ‘He is a head coach who is not getting better. He might be getting worse.’ And then Watson comes in.”
Waston, the 12th overall pick in this year’s draft, had thrown for 1,699 yards and a league-leading 19 touchdowns. He had also rushed 36 times for 269 yards (7.5 yards per carry) and two scores, flashing a dynamic brilliance unlike anything Texans fans had ever seen.
“We’ve seen some bad quarterbacks,” Gallant said, “and to see a guy that is as talented and as amazing as this guy, it’s been something different. For it to happen just out of nowhere – less than 24 hours after the Astros won the World Series for the first time – that’s basically how everyone is feeling right now. It’s not a great feeling.”
The city is still happy about the Astros, of course. But the city won’t be quite as happy when Houston hosts Indianapolis (2-6) sans Watson on Sunday.
“The glow hasn’t worn off and I think people are going to have a good time (Friday at the parade),” Gallant. “But I think right now people are just thinking, ‘Man, there just had to be something that would happen after the city of Houston wins its first title in 22 years.’ It is a strange mindset, but there are a lot of people that feel that way.”