Deshaun Watson keeps Texans competitive in OT loss to Titans

The Houston Texans don’t have a first or second-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft. They have huge contracts on the books and a lot of questions about their salary cap going forward. There isn’t much young talent from recent drafts on the roster to build around.

Despite the 42-36 overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans, what makes this 1-5 team attractive for future coaching candidates? Their young quarterback Deshaun Watson.

On Sunday, Watson showed once again why his teammates feel they are rarely out of a game. He threw five passes in the first quarter, but then got into a rhythm and put together a strong performance for the second week in a row. He completed 28 of 37 passes for 335 yards and four touchdowns. He now has six games with at least four passing touchdowns since his rookie year in 2017. Only Patrick Mahomes (nine) and Russell Wilson (eight) have more such games during that span, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

It’s too late for the Texans to contend in 2020, but they’re going to always be competitive and a difficult out with Watson under center.

Biggest hole in the game plan: The Texans came into the game as the 31st-ranked run defense, and allowed the Titans to run for 263 yards. Derrick Henry led the way with 212 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, including a 94-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. In the first half, Henry gained 62 of his 85 rushing yards before initial contact, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Troubling trend: Despite a strong performance from Watson, the Texans continue to struggle to run the ball consistently. David Johnson, who the Texans are paying more than $11 million after trading him for DeAndre Hopkins, ran for 57 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Duke Johnson had four carries for nine yards.

Promising trend: For the fourth week in a row, wide receiver Will Fuller caught a touchdown pass. While Watson spread the ball out, completing passes to seven different receivers, Fuller led the way with six catches for 123 yards and a touchdown.

Pivotal play: After the Texans scored with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter, interim coach Romeo Crennel had a decision to make. He opted to go for two up seven points with 1:50 left in an attempt to essentially end the game and failed. According to ESPN's Win Probability, they had a 98.2% chance to win if they kicked the extra point, and 98.1% chance to win if they went for two. Because it failed, the Titans only had to kick an extra point to force overtime after scoring.