By Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange – UPI
For that reason, the Houston Texans‘ rookie quarterback, just nine months removed from winning the college football championship, took little consolation in some of the very special things he did in only his second professional start Sunday.
To add insult to injury, Watson and the Texans allowed 10 of the game’s final 13 seconds to melt away without calling a timeout following a 21-yard completion to DeAndre Hopkins. (Coach Bill O’Brien took the blame for that.)
“It was decent,” Watson said after his first loss as an NFL starter. “Got to capitalize in the red zone. (You) can’t give Tom Brady the ball back with that much time, and we’ll learn from it.”
Watson was talking about a third-and-1 at the New England 18 that could have iced the game. Instead, the Texans came up short, and Brady worked his magic.
“It was very painful. That’s all I can really say about that,” Watson said.
The rookie and the veteran came together on the field after the game, Watson saying Brady told him, “‘Heck of a game — keep grinding, keep doing what (you are) doing.’ We’ll probably see them again.”
Watson was 22 of 33 for 301 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, the second of those on a Hail Mary into the end zone on the game’s final play.
The 22-year-old quarterback out of Clemson has special feet, special eyes in the back of his head and a strong arm. He doesn’t play like someone with three pro games under his belt.
“He works hard,” O’Brien said. “He’s a sharp kid. He’s a fun guy to coach. He learns, he gets better every day. He works hard on his own and with the coaches. He’s a real … special kid.”
Houston tackle Chris Clark said, “He’s an athletic guy, and he knows how to get out of a bad situation.”
Added Texans tight end Ryan Griffin: “He gave us energy, a chance to win, playmaking ability. Can’t say enough about him. I’m proud of him.
“There were a couple of times I thought the play was over, and he kept it going. I don’t know how he saw me way over on the far sideline (for 35 yards). … It’s kind of funny working with him in practice — he has a knack of knowing where guys are. He’s got a feel of where guys end up after a route.”
Asked if he feels like a rookie, Watson said, “No. I don’t try to think like that. I just go out there and play ball.”