For Texans' Deshaun Watson, losing is unfamiliar and 'tough to handle'

HOUSTON -- Long after the field emptied after the Houston Texans lost 26-20 to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson sat on the bench with a towel over his head.

After winning three out of four to get to 4-7, whatever sliver of hope the Texans had at making a run for the AFC South title was lost after Watson fumbled a low snap at the Colts’ 2-yard line with less than two minutes remaining. A score and an extra point would have given Houston the lead, and the Colts were out of timeouts.

Since the first-place Tennessee Titans lost to the Browns, the Texans would have been three games behind with four to play, and that included games against Indianapolis and Tennessee.

Instead, Watson saw again how 2020 just wasn’t meant to be the Texans’ year.

“This s--- hurts,” Watson said after the Texans fell to 4-8. “I’m tired of losing. Being so close over the years, it’s just tough. It’s tough.”

This is the first season of Watson’s life in which he has been healthy and his team hasn't won. (He tore his ACL as a rookie in 2017, when the Texans were 4-12.) Watson won a state championship in high school and a national championship in college. The Texans won the AFC South in his other two seasons, though he’s won only one playoff game.

“As a player over my career, even in little league, [I] haven't lost this many games,” Watson said. “It's tough to handle. You try to hold so much weight on your shoulders where it just becomes a breaking point. Like I always preach, my standard is trying to be legendary, and I'm working towards it.”

Watson said even though the snap by center Nick Martin was “a little low and hot,” he “should have caught the ball.”

“I hold myself up to that legendary standard, so I should have made that catch on that snap," Watson said. "I just felt like I was disappointed for the whole city.”

At times during his news conference, Watson looked like he was on the verge of tears as it hit him that he would not be taking the Texans to a Super Bowl. Houston came close to an AFC Championship Game for the first time in franchise history last season before blowing a 24-0 lead to the eventual Super Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The Texans fired head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien after a 0-4 start this season, and though they have Watson and some young talent on offense, there are still major holes to be filled going forward. Houston doesn’t have a first- or second-round draft pick in 2021, so although the Texans should still be competitive with Watson on the field, it will likely be at least another season or two before the Texans are competing with the AFC’s elite.

“We’re so close,” Watson said. “And we’ve been so close these last four years since I’ve been here where we just can’t, for some reason, haven’t got over that stepping stone.

“But one day we will, for sure. I promise you that.”