“It was terrible,” O’Brien said. “We’ve got to do better. I don’t know. I don’t really have any answers. I’ve got to go back and watch the film. I have to start that like right now. That’s what I’m going to try to do.”
Whatever it was that O’Brien and the Texans learned from the film, they put on display on Sunday in the Texans’ 53-32 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. This week, quarterback Deshaun Watson said this game didn’t mean anything more than others just because they had lost to Carolina the week before, but the statistics show that historically, this was a big victory for Houston. According to ESPN Stats & Information, only three teams in NFL history had a losing record through five games and still reached the Super Bowl.
Watson, who had struggled in home games and thrived on the road this season, completed 28 of 33 passes for 426 yards and five touchdowns at NRG Stadium. He did not throw an interception. Watson’s five passing touchdowns tied a career high, and his passing yards and 84.8 completion percentage set one. Last week’s performance — although against the top passing defense in the NFL through four weeks — was “motivating” for the Texans’ offense, Watson said, and something they took personally as they prepared to face the Falcons.
“We knew what we had to do, especially offensively,” Watson said. “We had to go in and execute, bring the energy, play fast, do what we do and make sure that every time we touch the ball, we try to end with points.”
“The great ones can do those things consistently and that’s what we are.”
Part of the reason for Watson’s big performance is that he was not sacked by the Falcons. The last — and only — time that has happened in Watson’s career? Week 8 last season against the Dolphins, when the Texans scored 42 points and Watson also threw five touchdown passes. Entering the game against the Falcons, Watson had been sacked 18 times, which was tied for the third-most in the NFL this season.
The Texans were without receiver Kenny Stills on Sunday, who missed the game with a hamstring and ankle injuries, but Watson spread the ball around against the Falcons. Watson completed passes to six players, including a career-high 14 catches for 217 yards and three touchdowns to Will Fuller. DeAndre Hopkins, who was double-teamed for much of the game, added seven catches for 88 yards, and slot receiver Keke Coutee had his best game of the season, with three catches for 72 yards.
“It just shows the potential this offense has,” said tight end Darren Fells, who caught two touchdown passes on Sunday. “We have weapons everywhere. In the backfield, we have both Duke [Johnson] and Carlos [Hyde], and then … in my opinion the two best receivers that money can buy.
“That just shows what this offense can do when we’re firing on all cylinders.”