The Houston Texans won at home vs. the Oakland Raiders, but they might have lost the heart of the defense, J.J. Watt, for the rest of the year.
It was a great team win on Sunday afternoon for the Houston Texans, as late fourth-quarter heroics from quarterback Deshaun Watson led Houston to another come-from-behind victory, sinking the Oakland Raiders 27-24 in Week 8. Watson’s game-winning touchdown pass to tight end Darren Fells was sensational, but it’s not all great news in Houston this evening.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, “the Texans may have lost star [defensive end] J.J. Watt to a serious injury. [His] source said the fear is that Watt suffered a torn pec, which would knock him out of the rest of the season. He’ll have an MRI to determine the full extent of the issue.”
Watt later confirmed that he’d miss the rest of the season, via Twitter, saying in part, “Absolutely gutted that I won’t be able to finish the season with my guys and give the fans what they deserve.”
Watt has had his issues with injuries throughout his unbelievable NFL career since being drafted out of Wisconsin. Though not the same elite defensive lineman he was in his mid-20s, Watt is the soul of the Houston defense and the greatest player in franchise history. But the torn pectoral muscle means he will be out for the rest of the season yet again for Houston.
This is a tough blow for a team that is in a dogfight in the AFC South. All four teams in the division are either at or above .500. That division race has nine weeks left to decide it. With Watt out for the second half of the season, this will only hurt the Houston front-seven, as the Texans don’t have enough time to make a high-profile trade to offset his season-ending loss.
So what are the Texans to do? They’ll have to find a way to get by and hope that their star quarterback Watson can continue to play at a Pro Bowl level for the rest of the way. He can most certainly do that, but we have to wonder if this is the end of the line for Watt as a reliable defensive star.
He is undoubtedly injury-prone and has been for some time now. Houston may need to face the harsh reality that the Texans may need to select his replacement in an upcoming NFL Draft. Replacing Watt is almost impossible, but the Texans have to accept that he’s no longer the Houston Hulk he used to be. Now that he’s out for the year, the Texans will have to survive. But will that be it for him?