It took 30 minutes of actual game time, but Deshaun Watson is joining the ranks of rookie quarterbacks to start for their team this season.
After Tom Savage opened the season under center for the Houston Texans, Watson started the second half at QB in Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. His first NFL drive was a doozy: a 14-play 74-yarder that resulted in a four-yard pass to DeAndre Hopkins for the Texans’ only touchdown of the day.
Here is his throwing his first NFL touchdown last weekend 🙌 pic.twitter.com/KNTqXwxMel
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) September 14, 2017
The rookie got something special for his 22nd birthday: the starting gig in the Texans’ Week 2 tilt with the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.
Though head coach Bill O’Brien hasn’t officially named the Clemson alum the starter, ESPN reports a source indicated the Texans will be going with Watson.
It’s not like Watson blew anyone away in his limited action, however. He was 5-of-10 on that opening drive, and was intercepted with his team on Jacksonville’s eight-yard line before being saved by a penalty.
Watson finished the second half completing 12 of 23 passes for a score and a pick. He also rushed twice for 16 yards in the 29-7 beatdown.
Savage was 7-of-13 in the first half. But his agent thinks he’s getting screwed.
“I’m still trying to figure this out … 31 plays and you’re getting benched? It makes no sense,” Neil Schwartz, Savage’s agent, told NBC Sports.
I watched all 31 plays, because that was the extent of what Tom saw in the first half. And I can’t figure out why he’s benching Tom. I went through every single play and I even went one step further. I asked two different NFL personnel people, coaches on two separate teams to evaluate and break down the film to see if I was missing something. He went 7 for 13 … 12 of the 13 balls touched the receiver’s hands. The only ball that didn’t was the strip-sack fumble that they called incomplete. Seven were completions, five were drops.
If you watch the film and you say “I see something wrong that deserves to be benched,” I wouldn’t be on the phone with you now. The second issue which I heard is he held the ball too long. He didn’t hold the ball too long. Every play except for the one that was third and 12 [where] he got sacked was less than three seconds.
Schwartz is either misinformed or, more likely, being disingenuous. Statistically speaking, only one of Savage’s incompletions is considered a “drop,” as the rest of the passes receivers got their hands on were broken up by the defense.
Here’s one of the plays Schwartz says he looked at that he must have counted as a drop.
— Nick Mensio (@NickMensio) September 13, 2017
When he said “drop,” maybe Schwartz meant “lucky not to be an interception”?
To be fair, it’s hard for anyone to play quarterback under the conditions Tom Savage and Deshaun Watson endured—they combined to take 10 Jaguars sacks.