Three thoughts from the Seahawks’ wild 41-38 win over the Texans.
1. Russell Wilson had 482 total yards. The Seahawks as a team had 479 total yards (Thomas Rawls and Tyler Lockett both had negative net yards). If that mind-boggling statistic doesn’t tell you how much Russell Wilson means to this team, nothing will. Despite working with a makeshift offensive line and non-existent running backs, Wilson put on a show. The sixth-year quarterback completed 26 of his 41 throws for 452 yards and four touchdowns and added 30 yards on the ground. Despite his running backs tallying five yards on 16 carries, Wilson was able to employ a wildly effective play-action attack and move the Seahawks consistently down the field. He tossed an ugly interception when Seattle was down four with 2:55 left, but was given a chance to amend himself at Seattle’s 20-yard line with 1:39 showing and zero timeouts at his disposal. He connected with Paul Richardson on a 48-yard bomb, hit Tyler Lockett along the sideline for 19 yards to engineer his team into the red zone and put the Seahawks ahead after throwing a dart to an open Jimmy Graham down the middle with 21 seconds left. That game-winning drive: Three plays, 80 yards and one stunned Texans defense. Wilson was an under-the-radar MVP candidate heading into this high-scoring affair with Houston, but now he’s emerged as a front-runner.
2. Deshaun Watson, who continues to put up otherworldly numbers, has singlehandedly turned the Texans’ offense into one of the most electric units in the league, thanks to his historic first season. On Sunday, the Clemson product became the first rookie to throw for at least three touchdowns in four consecutive games, and also set a new record with 19 touchdown passes in his first seven career NFL games. Watson had 402 yards and four touchdowns on his 19 completions with 67 rushing yards to boot, the first quarterback ever to accumulate those numbers. And he racked that up against Seattle’s legendary defense. Watson’s incredible improvisational skills and sky-high confidence have already made him one of the toughest quarterbacks for defenses to handle and it looks like it will remain that way for the next decade.
3. Despite Watson’s quick emergence into greatness, the Texans find themselves at 3–4 this season, and coach Bill O’Brien’s conservative play calls late in games are a key reason why. After Wilson’s interception, Houston had the ball with the chance to ice the game. Watson scampered for eight yards for one first down, but O’Brien opted to hand the ball off to Lamar Miller the next three plays, which resulted in a fourth-and-two. Why not put the ball in Watson’s hands at least one more time with a chance to decide the contest? O’Brien also cost the Texans earlier this season in New England by opting for a field goal on fourth-and-one already up two points with 2:24 remaining. Instead of going for the jugular, Tom Brady got the pigskin back down five and led the Patriots to a last-second win of his own. O’Brien needs to show more confidence in his best player in the waning moments, or else the Texans will find themselves on the couch during the postseason.