New England Patriots fans have hope again, in the wake of a Sunday night victory over the Baltimore Ravens. But standing in the way of a return to .500 on the season is Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans.
It might not seem like it, given Houston’s record, but Watson is playing some of the best football of his career. Two weeks ago in a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars he joined some rarified air as an NFL passer:
#Texans QB @deshaunwatson joins Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Steve Young and Peyton Manning (twice) as the only five players with at least 275 passing yards & a 105 passer rating in five consecutive games in a season in NFL history. pic.twitter.com/bkvKEtnxdC— Texans PR (@TexansPR) November 8, 2020
Anytime you join a club that includes only those other quarterbacks, you’re in elite company.
In that win, Watson highlighted some of the traits that could potentially given the New England defense trouble on Sunday. Specifically his ability to handle pressure in the pocket:
A look at Deshaun Watson from Sunday:— Mark Schofield (@MarkSchofield) November 9, 2020
*Playing some of his best football
*Resetting in the pocket
*Standing tall against the blitz pic.twitter.com/k8U7C0thJa
But something else that the Texans have done with Watson is put him in empty formations, which enables him to survey the field pre-snap and get the ball out quickly, attacking any matchups he likes. One of the things that he loves to do is to throw the slant route to the inside receiver in trips formations. How does he accomplish this? By manipulating an underneath defender with his eyes:
Looking ahead to Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans on Sunday— Mark Schofield (@MarkSchofield) November 18, 2020
*Moving underneath defenders
*Throwing the slant to #3 pic.twitter.com/fOmWB52TXi
When this game kicks off on Sunday, the Patriots defense is going to be tested by a quarterback playing at the top of his game.