DETROIT – Deshaun Watson fell back into a protected pocket in midfield and perfectly raised one of his four touchdown passes, connecting him with Will Fuller just before reaching the end zone.
Houston’s star quarterback made it easy, and the Detroit Lions tried their best not to fight much.
Watson had a few starting touchdown passes in the first half and threw for two more scores in the fourth quarter to help Houston pull out and beat Detroit 41-25 on Thursday.
And yet he was not satisfied.
“It was absolutely fine, but I missed two touchdowns,” said Watson.
The dynamic quarterback finished 17 out of 25 for 318 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He has thrown 15 touchdown passes without being picked once in the past six games.
“You have to give the guys some credit up front,” said interim coach Romeo Crennel. ‘If they give him time, he can make plays. Guys can open up and he can hit them. He has such accuracy. “
Texans star defensive end JJ Watt had an early pick-6 and Fuller had six receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns, including a 40-yard touchdown catch that looked like he and Watson were all alone on a practice field.
The Texans (4-7) have won two consecutive games for the first time this season and three of their past four games with Crennel.
“That’s good, but we haven’t won enough,” Crennel said.
Neither did the lions, and it could cost at least one man his job.
Detroit (4-7) may close the season with interim leaders after losing consecutive games for the third time this season, lowering coach Matt Patricia’s record to 13-29-1 and overall manager Bob Quinn to 12 games under .500 over five seasons. .
Patricia was peppered with questions about his job being in danger, avoiding any question.
“My focus is on the guys in that locker room every day and I work as hard as I can to help them be successful,” he said.
The Lions kept Patricia and Quinn for this season, and the owner said there was an expectation that they will compete for the playoffs by playing in meaningful games in December. And that seems highly unlikely.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford said the investigation into Patricia didn’t seem to affect him.
“He’s the same man every day,” Stafford said. “The man comes to work, grinds and wants to win like all of us. He is a passionate coach who loves the game. I’ve had a lot of respect for how he continued to come to work. “
Detroit, which lost its first shutout loss since 2009, scored first before collapsing with sales on two consecutive snaps and three consecutive first half holdings. Houston’s defense came into play with an NFL low five forced turnovers.
Watt reached out in a hurry just in time to snatch Stafford’s pass and returned him 19 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
“I saw that he was throwing quickly, so I stopped rushing and jumped up,” Watt recalls. “It hit me squarely in my hands.”
At Detroit’s next moment, Jonathan Williams fumbled and Houston took advantage of Watson’s 2-yard touchdown pass to CJ Prosise to advance 13-6.
“Three turnovers at the start of the game destroyed the momentum,” said Stafford.
Watson’s 33-yard touchdown pass to Duke Johnson gave the Texans a 20-14 lead early in the second quarter.
Watson’s first touchdown pass to Fuller early in the fourth gave Houston a 34-17 lead. He reconnected with Fuller, who was wide open, with a 34-yard touchdown on a trick play after handing the ball over and getting it back on a lateral.
Stafford was 28 of 42 for 295 yards with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu in the fourth and an interception that returned Watt for a score. Detroit’s Adrian Peterson had a few 1-yard touchdown runs in the first half – trying to blame Patricia for the latest loss.
“It has nothing to do with the head coach,” said Peterson.
Detroit defensive back CJ Moore and Houston defensive back AJ Moore, identical twins, hugged before the game and played against each other for the first time.
Watt became the third NFL player with at least 100 sacks and six touchdowns in a career. The others are Jason Taylor and Julius Peppers.
Watson and Stafford were among a handful of players on both teams who grabbed a knee during the National Anthem, a social justice statement that didn’t sit well with President Donald Trump.
“No thank you!” Trump tweeted.
REPORT OF INJURY
Texans: FB Cullen Gillaspia (back) and WR Kenny Stills (quadricep) were inactive.
Lions: CB Desmond Trufant worsened a second-quarter hamstring injury in another setback for a secondary that had rookie CB Jeff Okudah (shoulder) and CB Mike Ford (concussion) inactive. RB D’Andre Swift (concussion) along with WRs Kenny Golladay (hip) also missed the race.
Texans host Indianapolis on December 6.
Lions play in Chicago on December 6.