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Bill O’Brien wasted an epic Deshaun Watson performance against the Seahawks

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Questionable play calls cost the Texans a win against the Seahawks.

NFL: Houston Texans at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Deshaun Watson lit the Seahawks up for over 400 yards and four touchdowns on Sunday. It was one of the best games yet for a rookie who has managed to exceed his hype every week. And Bill O’Brien wasted it.

O’Brien got too conservative late in the game, and it gave the Seahawks an opportunity to take the win. They did, leaving CenturyLink Field with a 41-38 decision in one of the season’s most entertaining games.

After the game, O’Brien took the blame for the loss.

“Whenever we lose, it’s my fault,” O’Brien said. “And that’s the way I look at it. It’s not the players’ fault. The players played valiantly today. They played tough. They played hard.

“I just have to do a better job, especially on the road. I just have to coach better.”

Watson and the offense did enough to win

Watson was cooking against a defense that ranked No. 1 in the league for points allowed coming into Sunday’s game. Rookie quarterbacks had gone 1-6 against this defense since Pete Carroll took over. Watson very nearly became the second.

Here’s what Watson did against on the road against the top-ranked scoring defense:

  • Watson finished with 402 yards and four touchdowns.
  • He was the team’s leading rusher with 67 yards on eight carries.
  • He became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for three or more touchdowns in four consecutive games.
  • Watson joins Fran Tarkenton as the only rookies to throw for four touchdowns in three consecutive games.
  • Watson is also the first NFL player ever to score 19 touchdowns, passing and rushing, in his first seven games. He passed Kurt Warner, who had 18 through his first seven games.
  • As if that weren’t enough, Watson’s performance made him the first NFL player ever to have over 400 passing yards, four touchdowns, and more than 55 rushing yards.

His performance and poise earned the Seahawks’ respect.

O’Brien said it was him, not Watson and the offense, who brought on the loss.

“The players played great today, and I just feel bad that I didn’t do a good enough job to put them over the top,” O’Brien said.

Here’s how O’Brien robbed his team of a win against the Seahawks

There was one key drive that killed the Texans’ chances. O’Brien knows what happened.

“I made some bad play calls today,” O’Brien said. “I just have to do a better job on game day.”

The Texans’ defense gave the team a chance with a timely Marcus Williams interception. That put the ball back in Watson’s hands with a four-point lead and just under three minutes left to play.

Here’s what O’Brien called:

  • A Lamar Miller run for 4 yards.
  • A Deshaun Watson quarterback keeper for 8 yards and a first down.
  • A Lamar Miller run for 1 yard on first down.
  • A Lamar Miller run for 5 yards on second down.
  • A Lamar Miller run for 2 yards on third-and-4.

Watson was averaging 8.4 yards per carry against Miller’s 2.6. Early in the game, he showed off his awareness by telling Alfred Blue to block for him so he could get a first down. He managed to make big plays when his team needed them against the Seahawks, like this 2-yard touchdown pass to Miller, even while under pressure. And O’Brien took the ball out of his hands on the drive that could have locked up the win.

O’Brien knows he made a mistake.

“It was just my fault,” O’Brien said. “It was a miscommunication, and it’s my fault.”

O’Brien held the defense back, too

Playing to not lose instead of playing to win is a pattern for O’Brien. He did it against the Patriots in Week 3 and cost the Texans a victory.

The Texans had a two-point lead, and O’Brien opted to kick a field goal on fourth-and-1 with 2:24 left in the game. He did what no coach should ever do and left it up to his defense to keep Tom Brady from leading a game-winning drive. It didn’t work.

The same thing happened on Sunday against the Seahawks.

O’Brien had two timeouts left on the Seahawks’ final touchdown drive. His defense was obviously gassed, but he didn’t use either of the remaining ones to stop the clock and give them a better chance of keeping Seattle out of the end zone.

Wilson led the Seahawks on a three-play, 80-yard drive that ended in an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham. It gave Seattle a three-point lead, and it left the Texans with just 21 seconds left to play. Richard Sherman picked off Watson to crush the Texans’ hope of a rally.

O’Brien’s Texans are 3-4 and are third in the AFC South, behind the Jaguars and Titans. But they could be 5-2 if O’Brien hadn’t gone ultra-conservative in two of those losses. Watson has done enough to earn his head coach’s trust when games are on the line. Now it’s up to O’Brien to let him do it.


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