Former Clemson star and current rookie quarterback with the Houston Texans, Deshaun Watson was impressive in his debut under center despite the Texans losing to Charlotte 27-17.
Watson was poised when scrambling to avoid pass rushers while keeping his eyes downfield looking for potential targets.
Instead of trying to thread the needle with a pass into coverage while scrambling during the third quarter, he tucked the ball into his chest and ran for a 15-yard touchdown.
The poise he displayed was uncharacteristic for a rookie but even more impressive was his solid decision making and elusiveness which delivered impressive plays while adjusting to a different talent level in the NFL.
Following the game, Watson said he is now playing in the NFL, which is the highest level for the sport and he knows it will be faster, have bigger guys, and smarter guys.
Watson used his elusiveness to open passing lanes for his throws downfield, but nonetheless was sacked on three occasions and after taking a sack on successive plays during the fourth quarter, was taken out of the game and replaced with Brandon Weeden.
Watson relieved starter Tom Savage and completed 15 of his 25 passes for 179 yards. He did not throw a touchdown, but more importantly did not throw an interception.
Houston head coach Bill O’Brien called Watson an instinctive player, said for his first game the rookie did positive things and handled the transition from college to pro well.
Watson remained patient when plays broke down and had the mindset to throw the ball away to avoid any interceptions. The rookie said one of his goals is taking better care of the football, which he knows is especially important at the NFL level as turnovers can change a game instantly.
Watson’s arm strength was on display early when he threw an incomplete pass that traveled 65 yards in the air.
Overall the best play he made was the scramble for a touchdown as he showed poise scrambling behind the line of scrimmage before tucking the ball and scampering into the end zone from 15 yards out.
Starting quarterback Savage completed 9 of his 11 passes for just 69 yards. He already has been named the team’s starter, but Watson displayed his talent that showed he might be ready to play at this level sooner than later if he is called upon to do so this season.