Texans 'playmaker' Keke Coutee shines after Will Fuller injury

INDIANAPOLIS -- Keke Coutee's NFL debut got off to a rough start.

Early in the game, after the rookie receiver dropped a pass from quarterback Deshaun Watson, he said he felt like his day was doomed before it really began.

"I had that early drop and that was just a sign of me just getting ready to go and just not looking the ball in," Coutee said. "I was stuck on it for a little while, but I got it out of my mind [and] continued to make plays."

But Coutee, who was making his NFL debut in the Texans' 37-34 victory against the Indianapolis Colts after recovering from a hamstring injury, said he started to take it one play at a time and ended up turning in a great performance, catching 11 passes for 109 yards.

His 11 catches were the most by a receiver making his NFL debut since 1970. According to the Texans, Sid Banks is the only other player to record more when he had 13 receptions in his first game in 1964.

"He's a playmaker," Watson said. "He's a guy that can come in here and help this offense [and] be electric."

Coutee's big game was even more important because the Texans lost third-year receiver Will Fuller V with a hamstring injury in the second quarter. Fuller had four catches for 49 yards and a touchdown before he left the game.

O'Brien said he thinks Fuller could have played in the second half, but "he wasn't going to be able to run all of the routes we needed him to run.

"Fuller wanted to be in there, but I made that decision," O'Brien said.

Fuller, who missed the preseason and Week 1 with a hamstring injury, has caught a touchdown pass in all seven games he has played in with Watson; he has caught 10 touchdowns in that span.

The Texans don't have much depth at receiver, especially if Fuller misses more time. Houston put its No. 3 receiver Bruce Ellington on injured reserve last week with a hamstring injury.

On Sunday, Watson's throws focused on Coutee (15 targets) and DeAndre Hopkins (12 targets), but other than Fuller (five targets before he left the game), Watson doesn't have many other receiving options to throw. Receiver Sammie Coates, who was inactive for the Texans' previous two games with a hamstring injury, caught his lone target against the Colts.

Regardless of whether Fuller is back on the field on Sunday night against Dallas in Week 5, Watson will still likely look for Coutee often after the way he played in his first NFL game.

"[My skill set] opens up a lot of people," Coutee said. "If they want to double Hop [Hopkins], they can go to Will [Fuller]. If they want to double Will, they can go to Hop. We have a lot of great guys that do a lot of great things with the ball in their hands."