The Houston Texans have been a terrible, no good football team sputtering to one of the worst seasons in franchise history with a lengthy rebuild in front of them.
None of that has been Deshaun Watson’s fault.
The Texans are 2-6, with both of those wins coming against the Jaguars, and will miss the playoffs. Watson has proved he was worth the four year, $156 million contract extension he signed this offseason.
Watson is having the best season of his career in the worst of circumstances, even after losing Deandre Hopkins in an ill-advised trade to the Arizona Cardinals and playing next to a non-existent running game.
He got off to a shaky start this season with two subpar performances against the Chiefs and Ravens to start the year, but he’s been unstoppable since then.
Over the Texans last six games, Watson threw for 15 touchdowns, three interceptions and averaged 9.1 yards per attempt. Somehow, the Texans only managed two wins over that timespan.
Not only is Watson scoring well with standard statistics, he’s also a star in more refined measurements of offensive efficiency.
Watson is third in expected points added per play (.3) and seventh in completion percentage over expectation (+4.5%), according to The Athletic’s Ben Baldwin. That’s pretty good for a guy that really has to do everything for the Texans offense.
During that timespan when Watson carried the Texans offense, Houston ranked 31st in offensive rushing success rate (31.9%), 28th in defensive success rate (49.5%) and 31st in defensive expected points added per play (0.186). Watson was the only reason this team remained competitive this season. They would undoubtedly be the worst team in the league without him.
In a way, Watson showed that elite quarterback play isn’t the only thing required for continued success in the NFL. Having elite quarterback play gives teams a chance to win any game on their schedule, but it takes a team effort to consistently end up in the win column.
Unfortunately for Watson, he’ll likely be stuck in this predicament for another season.
The Texans traded its first and second round picks in the 2021 NFL Draft for Laremy Tunsil. Houston wide receivers Kenny Stills and Will Fuller will hit free agency after this season. Somehow the team projects to be $8 million over the cap for the 2021 season, according to Over The Cap.
Houston will probably do a whole lot of losing over the next year and a half, but Watson isn’t to blame. He’s doing everything he can to keep this team afloat and it just isn’t working. This is a rare congruence where a great quarterback putting up great numbers doesn’t equal wins. At least Houston doesn’t have to find a quarterback moving forward.