The NFL, the Texans, and the city of Houston lost one of this year's most exciting stars to an ACL tear
Houston did not even get a day. Less than 18 hours after the Astros won their first World Series title in franchise history, rising Texans star Deshaun Watson went down during practice with a non-contact ACL tear. His season is over. In October, the 22-year-old was the only player in the NFL to post a passer rating above 100.0 in every game. He threw five more touchdown passes (16) than any other first-year player has in a calendar month, breaking Dan Marino's record. And Thursday morning, Watson became the first rookie QB in league history to be named AFC offensive player of the month. Combine that with the baseball team's historic playoff run, and a flood-ravaged city that had not won a major sports title in Watson's lifetime finally had reasons to celebrate. Then, this.
The Texans quickly added Matt McGloin to the roster Thursday, but Tom Savage will return to the starting role. The last time we saw Savage, he was seven-of-13 with a QBR of 7.8 before being pulled in a season-opening 29-7 loss at home to Jacksonville. That started a season that already has contained a decade worth of twists and turns. The slow start followed a preseason dominated by efforts to help the city recover from Hurricane Harvey. The Texans then reasserted themselves with a 57-14 win over the Titans to get back to .500, only to lose anchor J.J. Watt to a season-ending injury the next week. Now, another setback. Even Texans opponents were shaken. "It’s terrible news,” Seahawks corner Richard Sherman said. "It just sucks."
At 2 p.m. local time Friday, Houstonians will crowd the streets for the Astros' championship parade. It'll be appropriately raucous, for sure. But after the throngs head home at the end of the afternoon, they'll turn their attention to Sunday and—maybe for the first time—agree with Richard Sherman. This sucks.
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NOW ON THE MMQB: Peter King writes on Deshaun Watson's injury ... Robert Klemko reminds you what trade grades are really worth ... Jonathan Jones pens “Bill Belichick and Special Teams: A Love Story” ... and more.
LATER TODAY ON THE MMQB: Tim Rohan speaks to Dabo Sweeney about Watson ... Andy Benoit and Conor Orr Preview Week 9 ... and more. Stay tuned.
1. Jets 34, Bills 21. The New York defense dominated at home Thursday night, holding Buffalo to 200 yards and seven points deep into the fourth quarter and forcing three turnovers. Matt Forte led the offense with 96 scrimmage yards and two scores.
2. Colts GM Chris Ballard announced Thursday that Andrew Luck would be put on IR, ending his season, but we're far from the conclusion of a saga that stretches back to when Luck first injured his shoulder in 2015.
3. Mark Kiszla writes in Denver about the return of “Bro Montana”—Brock Osweiler. Why might this work? “The No. 17 the Broncos have known and would love again is a quarterback who embraces his role as an underdog,” Kiszla says. “Osweiler at his best is the anti-Manning. He doesn’t overthink it, checks his ego at the door, hands off the football or dumps it short with an easy throw, gets out of the way and lets [Demaryius] Thomas or C.J. Anderson be the star.”
4. Robert Mays blames lackluster play in 2017 on “the deteriorating state of offensive line play,” but don't turn to him for an easy solution.
5. Is Rams punter Johnny Hekker the league's most valuable player? No, seriously. Ben Shpigel makes the case in The New York Times.
6. Well, I guess the Browns are sticking with DeShone Kizer, whether they truly wanted to or not. To help him succeed, Hue Jackson is asking his rookie to make quicker, shorter throws, Dan Labbe found.
7. Want to improve your football understanding? Check out this feature by Scott Hanson on everything Seahawks QB Russell Wilson has to know and do.
9. From the very beginning of his introductory press conference, Jimmy Garoppolo has taken charge in San Fran.
10. The Vikings have less than a week to decide whether they should elevate Teddy Bridgewater to the 53-man roster this season. Meanwhile, Case Keenum is having the best year by a purple and gold QB since 2009.
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If you’re one of those people who loves watching the Patriots lose, you’ll enjoy seeing Rob Gronkowski getting absolutely destroyed in a rap battle.
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