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Culture / Sporting Life

Deshaun Watson Deserves Better Than Dumb Defense and Timid Coaching

Houston’s Mr. Impossible is Let Down in Philadelphia

BY // 12.24.18

Deshaun Watson pulled off the impossible — and the Houston Texans’ defense threw it right back. In the end, Watson can only sit on a bench on the sideline, white knit Texans hat on, watching as his masterpiece is sullied.

It’d be like Dave Chappelle doing the epic set of all epic sets — and then having to watch a hack from The Joke Factory throw up all over it. Like Warren Buffett giving a lecture on investing — and then getting followed by Joe from accounting.

Watson somehow brings the Texans back from down 29-16 with 10 minutes left against the desperate defending Super Bowl champs on the road in Philly. Playing with a host of fourth and fifth-string wide receivers, Watson gives his team the lead with two touchdowns in eight magic minutes.

He has all of Philadelphia reeling.

Unfortunately, Watson also plays with one of the worst secondaries in the league, a would be $140 million player whose dumb mistakes can overshadow his potential dominance and a coach whose play calling could make Brett Kavanaugh seem progressive by comparison.

Deshaun Watson deserves so much better than this.

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He deserves to play in an offense that allows him to use his talents all game — not just when things grow desperate. He deserves to play for a coach who trusts him on fourth-and-5 from a teetering opponent’s 41-yard line.

Eagles 32, Texans 30 should never happen. Not with a playoff bye — a free pass to the second weekend of the NFL postseason — right there to grab. Not with the Texans showing so much heart in arguably their toughest game of all in the regular season.

Not with Watson starring like this, willing an offense populated by complete scrubs and DeAndre Hopkins into the lead.

These Texans (10-5) are still already assured of a playoff game — thanks to Mike Tomlin  imploding in New Orleans. But with Houston’s new second best receiver Demaryius Thomas having ruptured his Achilles in Philly, joining the still-mightily-missed Will Fuller on the done for the season list, Bill O’Brien’s team is assured of little more.

Unless the New England Patriots, who are praising Saint Nick Foles this Monday morning, lose to the Jets next weekend, the Watson and the Texans will be playing on the first weekend of the NFL playoffs. If they lose to Jacksonville at home next Sunday, they’ll be playing on the road, too.

Forget that nine game winning streak that fueled real belief. This Houston team suddenly look like the Texans of last season — before Watson tore his ACL in that fateful practice. The team that would come close to signature wins because of Watson’s magic — and then watch it all get yanked away in the end.

“I think this team is a mentally tough team,” O’Brien says in his postgame press conference of the comeback from down 29-16. “I think they believe in each other.”

Are we supposed to just be happy this Houston team didn’t lose 70-14?

The only reason to believe in O’Brien’s team now — even in an AFC playoff field without a super team — is the brilliance of No. 4. He slips and spins away from three potential sacks before rifling a pass to convert one crucial third-and-11. He lofts a perfectly thrown 35-yard touchdown pass to Vyncint Smith that the undrafted Division II speedster cannot help but catch to give the Texans that 30-29 lead.

Watson conjures up some no-way-that-just-happened stuff.

Just ask the Eagles, who almost see Watson end their season by pulling off the impossible in Week 16.

“We’d like to get (Watson) on the ground late in the game when about six of us missed him,” Eagles defensive end Chris Long says. “But he’s a hell of a football player and they’re a good football team. They’re a playoff team that’s going to make a run.”

Any Texans’ run figures to be all Watson now.

On the last Sunday before Christmas, he accounts for 388 yards and four touchdowns. And still loses.

Eagles Fly Scared

Deshaun Watson’s proven that he can scare the defending Super Bowl champs to near expiration with only one legitimate offensive weapon at his disposal.

But Watson will not be able to steal a playoff game if Jadeveon Clowney cannot stop committing dumb penalties in the closing minutes of tight games. Two weeks ago, Andrew Luck baits Clowney into a foolish (and predictable) offsides jump that seals an Indianapolis win. On this Sunday, Clowney lowers his head as he barrels into Foles, drawing a roughing the passer penalty that sets up the 35-yard game winning field goal that ruins Watson’s magic show.

Watson also cannot win if O’Brien does not go for the jugular. On the same Sunday that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll shows how it should be done, aggressively pushing for more even though his team holds the lead against Kansas City, O’Brien keeps Watson in a shell.

These Texans are clearly not good enough on defense to play conservative against good teams. Trying to do so in Philadelphia cost them a real chance at the No. 2 seed — and the opportunity to advance to the playoffs’ second weekend without having to play.

“Man, that is what it is,” Watson says afterwards of the Texans losing their hold on a potential first round bye. “As long as we get in, then it’s a new season. My mentality is whoever we have to play, wherever we have to play, we’re going to play all four quarters.”

Watson deserves so much more. He deserves a real chance.

The man who can do the impossible is in an impossible situation.

It’s Deshaun Watson and hope. That may make for a great show. But is it really a playoff plan?

Home, chic home.

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