Texans' Bill O'Brien getting creative calling plays for Deshaun Watson

HOUSTON -- With the game tied 14-14 in Sunday's loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien turned to a unique play call.

With three players in the backfield in an inverted wishbone formation, rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson used play-action and a fake screen to receiver Bruce Ellington to open up the field. After that misdirection, Watson found receiver Will Fuller V in the right side of the end zone, where he made a leaping touchdown catch with Richard Sherman defending him.

That's just one example of how Bill O'Brien and the Texans' coaching staff are having fun drawing up plays and getting creative with Watson's skillset.

O'Brien took over playcalling duties this season after the Texans parted ways with offensive coordinator George Godsey and has seen the value in getting his entire coaching staff involved in coming up with plays as part of the game plan. The head coach called it "a collaborative effort" where a coach will present his portion of the game plan, and the group discusses options based on that. O'Brien then puts that all together on a call sheet for him to use on gamedays.

"You kind of get in that room together and you start tossing around ideas, and then somebody comes with an idea and a certain formation and then something clicks with somebody else where they say, 'You know what else we could do off of that same type of look but give it a different flavor to it,'" quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan said. "So it's fun.

"It's creative. Everybody's open to sharing ideas. Everybody's good with it and most importantly, OB's [O'Brien] good with it. It kind of creates that atmosphere where you can be creative, you can kind of think and do things off the cuff a little bit when you're in there based off what somebody else may say. It's a fun environment to game plan in."

Watson said he really likes the creativity O'Brien and the rest of the coaching staff has shown because they "keep the defense standing on their toes."

"They don't know where the ball is," Watson said. "And actually I'm not sure if Coach OB is lying about it, but he said he's always wanted to do it. Now he gets to do it, and everyone on our offense loved it, too."

In the first seven games of his NFL career, Watson has been breaking touchdown records every week and has thrown 16 in his past four games. O'Brien said Watson is such a unique player that he allows the Texans to run plays they couldn't before because they "haven't had that type of quarterback."

"Having a guy with athleticism as well as somebody who can stand in the pocket [and] throw the ball down the field, somebody who's an intelligent player, instinctive player, certainly kind of opens things up for you, no question," Ryan said.

Watson has thrown 11 passing touchdowns on play-action passes this season, eight of which came from shotgun or pistol sets. That is five more than any other quarterback, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Watson has completed 70 percent of his play-action passes with a 96 Total QBR and is averaging 10.3 yards per attempt, almost three yards more than on passes without play-action.

O'Brien said he has also learned a lot from the rookie, especially with some of what Watson had done in his time at Clemson.

"He's got some pretty good insight, even though he's a young player," O'Brien said. "So, I don't think it’s so much that he suggests plays, it's more about the plays that are -- you know, maybe there's four or five plays in the game that he has a suggestion about tweaking a little bit during the week, and it's usually a good one, which is pretty interesting.

"That's usually the case with really good players. They know what they're talking about."