It took a heroic fourth quarter from Deshaun Watson, but the Houston Texans were able to pick up a massive win in the playoff race, taking down the Oakland Raiders 27-24.
In Week 7, Deshaun Watson did everything he could to lead the Houston Texans to a huge win over the rival Indianapolis Colts, but a late interception to Darius Leonard undid his previous work in the game. Watson and the Texans more than bounced back in Week 8, grinding out a tough win against another formidable AFC opponent in the Oakland Raiders.
The victory moves the Texans to 5-3, placing them a half-game behind the Colts in the AFC South, as well as the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens elsewhere in the AFC. But the Texans themselves defeated Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, with Watson out-dueling Mahomes in a battle of MVP candidates.
This Sunday, Watson looked every bit like an MVP candidate, especially on the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. After shaking off a literal kick to the eye, Watson rolled out the right, briefly readjusted his helmet, and rifled a nine-yard touchdown pass to Darren Fells. He also had another excellent game-sealing play to pick up a first down on the run to Fells.
Watson has the Texans in playoff position, as he is the leader responsible for the success of this football team. While the likes of Carlos Hyde, who dropped 83 rushing yards on Oakland, have played well this season, Watson is undoubtedly the team’s most important player on either side of the ball. And once again, he came up big.
The Raiders and Texans came into this Week 8 battle in similar positions in the standings. Houston was 4-3 and just behind Indianapolis in the AFC South, while Oakland was 3-3 and just behind Kansas City in the AFC West as two of the top teams in the Wild Card hunt.
Houston’s 27-24 win shows three things. First, that they are favorites to grab the second Wild Card spot behind Buffalo. Second, that they have the character to win close games. And third, that Deshaun Watson can take this team to great heights on his shoulders.
Watson completed 27 of 39 passes for 279 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He added 46 rushing yards on 10 carries for good measure, too. The man made use of a variety of weapons, hitting DeAndre Hopkins 11 times for 109 yards, tossing a touchdown to trade acquisition Duke Johnson and even hitting up Fells twice for scores, including that spellbinding game-winner.
The Texans have suffered a couple of tough losses this season to the Saints and, more recently, to the Colts, but this was a huge get-right win against a surprisingly strong Oakland team. Houston’s offense contains a number of difference-makers, especially Watson, who can give the team big plays in tight games, and that gives them staying power as a playoff favorite in their conference.