Texans Offense Must Show They Can Operate Without Will Fuller

Patrick D. Starr

Houston, Texas- With the news of the Houston Texans not expecting wide receiver Will Fuller to be available for the Wild Card playoff game against the Buffalo Bills, it could not have come at the worst time.

The Texans offense is .59 yards per play with Fuller on the field and this season he played 564 offensive snaps (53%). Absent for 453 of the Texans offensive snaps this season, that would mean he left at least 267 yards of offense without being in the lineup. The closest regular starter behind's Fuller's yard per play was DeAndre Hopkins at .33 yards per play. 

When the Texans have Fuller on the field, Deshaun Watson turns into a much better quarterback. According to ESPN Stats, Watson’s passer rating jumps from 89.8 to 104.3 while his QBR goes from 64.4 to 77.3 with Fuller on the field.

Over the three years with Fuller on the field, Watson’s career splits are similar to what they were in 2019, and the only quarterback with a better QBR over that span is the Kansas City Chiefs Patrick Mahomes at 77.3.

Fuller’s deep ball capability is a critical piece in the Texans offense, and this season alone, he has nine receptions of 30-plus yards, which has him tied for 7th most in the NFL.

The lack of Fuller changes things for Watson, and it concerns to see how much it changes his game.

Watson’s splits Weeks 1-6 when Will Fuller played 88-plus% of the snaps

178 of 258 (69%) 16 touchdowns six interceptions 2,185 Yds 8.5 yards per attempt and a 107.9 rating

Watson’s splits Weeks 7-11 + 14 (Will Fuller played three snaps Week 7)

120 of 181 (66.3%) 7 touchdown five interceptions 1,249 Yds 6.9 yards per attempt and an 87.5 rating

It is time for the Texans offense to evolve and show they can make plays without the presence of Will Fuller. The built-in issue for the Texans with the absence of Fuller needs to come to an end.

The Texans have capable targets in DeAndre Hopkins, Kenny Stills, Duke Johnson, Darren Fells, Jordan Akins, and Keke Coutee to pick up the slack.

It starts with Watson being able to find his underneath targets in the running backs and tight ends, allowing them to pick up yards after the catch.

It is time for the Texans to show they can be a capable offense without Fuller because it is now do-or-die in their most crucial game of the season against the Buffalo Bills. 

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