Deshaun Watson is steadily working his way back to 2017 form. Last Thursday’s game was clearly a step in the right direction, as he tossed 5 touchdown passes against the Dolphins. Watson has all the tools needed in a quarterback. He has a strong arm and exceptional athleticism. He looks comfortable hanging in the pocket. More importantly, when he has to move, he has a throw-first mentality. He maintains a downfield focus and isn’t in a hurry to run, which can be counterintuitive for a quarterback with his athleticism.
We noticed this trait during Watson’s rookie season, and it was on display once again on Thursday night. The play below is a great example. Watson got batted around like a pinball, but he didn’t panic after escaping the pressure. He instead calmly regathered himself, looked downfield, and found an open receiver.
The play that changed the course of the game occurred on a 4th-and-Goal from the 2-yard line in the 3rd quarter. Watch Watson roll right, not have anything, then calmly move back to the left before finding his receiver for the touchdown.
You don’t see any panic in his movements, do you?
Throughout his young career, Watson has looked extremely comfortable moving behind the line of scrimmage and looking for his receivers downfield. It is such an important trait for being able to consistently pick up large chunks of yards at a time. Think about it, there isn’t a defensive back in the league that can consistently cover a receiver for more than 4-5 seconds. When a quarterback can hold onto the ball and find receivers late in the play instead of taking off and running at the first sign of trouble, he’s going to find more receivers breaking open for big plays.
Don’t get us wrong – Watson’s running ability is a true weapon. We aren’t saying he shouldn’t use his legs. But quarterbacks that can run are twice as dangerous when they run as a last resort.
After an 0-3 start looked like it might bury the Texans, they have since won five straight and taken control of the AFC South. This is in no small part due to Watson, who looks like he’s getting ready to take off in the second half of the season.