NFL Football

38
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Houston 14 7 3 14 38
Seattle 14 7 6 14 41
41
1:05 PM PT2:05 PM MT3:05 PM CT4:05 PM ET20:05 GMT4:05 1:05 PM MST3:05 PM EST3:05 PM CT0:05 UAE (+1)16:05 ETNaN:� , October 29, 2017
CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington  Weather: 50°, Cloudy  Attendance: 69,025

Texans' Watson faces crash course in Seahawks

According to STATS
According to STATS

Houston Texans at Seattle Seahawks

  1. Coming off their Week 7 bye and a 33-17 victory over the Browns in Week 6, the Houston Texans enter this game against Seattle with a mark of 3-3, scoring at least 33 points in each of their last four games.
  2. The Seattle Seahawks are riding a three-game winning streak into Week 8 after starting the season 1-2. Four of Seattle's six games thus far have come on the road.
  3. These two teams square off once every four years, with Seattle leading the all-time series 2-1. In their last meeting in 2013, the Seahawks pulled off a 14-point fourth-quarter comeback to win in overtime 23-20. It tied their largest fourth-quarter comeback in franchise history.
  4. After losing big to the Jaguars 29-7 in their season opener, the Texans have woken up and hold the NFL's best scoring margin since Week 2 at +10.4 points per game - not coincidentally the five games started by rookie Deshaun Watson.
  5. Deshaun Watson has 14 passing touchdowns and a pair of rushing TD in his five starts, tying Kurt Warner for the most touchdowns responsible for (passing + rushing) through five career starts all-time. He'll need three more in this game to keep pace with Warner through six career starts.
  6. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks got off to a very slow start in 2017, going without a touchdown until the fourth quarter in Week 2. But from Week 3 on, Wilson has led the Seahawks to the sixth-highest scoring offense in the league with 28.3 points per game - the leader since Week 3, Deshaun Watson's Texans (39.3).
Team Comparison

Houston
 
Seattle
29.5 Points 22.3
226.5 Pass Yds 259.3
137.7 Rush Yds 108.3
10 Takeaways 10

With each week comes a new set of challenges for Texans rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson, whose early-season exploits have not only surprised the NFL, but have buoyed an offensive unit that appears to gain increasing proficiency with each contest.

In Watson, the Texans (3-3) have a signal caller ranking first in touchdown percentage (8.6), tied for second in touchdown passes (15) and sixth in passer rating (101.1). Watson led the NFL in scoring strikes before the Texans enjoyed their week off last weekend, and Watson used a portion of his downtime to continue improving instead of resting on his considerable laurels.

"Just worked out, recovered the body, did some conditioning," Watson said. "I watched a lot of film on myself. So, self-evaluation, trying to correct the mistakes I made the first previous weeks and just try to build on that.

"Just continue to make better decisions, ball placement, make quicker reads, my pocket awareness. Just try to operate the offense as best as I can."

Focusing on the finer details is mandatory labor for any starting quarterback, but with the Seahawks (4-2) on deck at CenturyLink Field in Seattle on Sunday, executing the minutiae becomes paramount. As is annually the case, the Seahawks are stout defensively with their collection of secondary Pro-Bowlers thriving on the back line of the stingiest unit in the league.

Seattle ranks first in points allowed (94), third in net yards per pass attempt (5.0), fifth in passing yards surrendered (1,145), and eighth in yards per play (4.9). The names remain unchanged, with cornerback Richard Sherman and safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor again anchoring the secondary and meeting lofty expectations with exceptional results.

With Watson developing his familiarity with the offense and strengthening his rapport with his playmakers, namely receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller, the Texans have eclipsed the 30-point plateau four consecutive weeks. That success makes for a confident bunch, but the Texans' collective self-esteem will be tested this weekend to extremes unfamiliar to Watson.

"They are very, very smart," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said of the Seattle secondary. "Very well coached. Very athletic. They have length. They do a great job of communicating.

"We feel good about our playmakers but we also know that it's a huge challenge and that our guys need to be at the top of their game on Sunday."

Following a sluggish start to their season, the Seahawks have rounded into form, coming out of their off week and claiming their third consecutive victory, 24-7 over the New York Giants last weekend. While their defense hit a rough path in the second half of a loss at Tennessee in Week 3, that unit has been far more consistent and reliable than the Russell Wilson-led offense.

However, perhaps emblematic of team trending in the right direction, Wilson enjoyed his most efficient performance of the season against the Giants, posting a 121.1 passer rating. He passed for three touchdowns without an interception and completed 69.2 percent of his attempts en route to a 334-yard effort, his highest yardage total during the winning streak.

Wilson annually shoulders too great a burden relative to the productivity on offense, with the line charged to protect him often serving as the first line of failure. But when Wilson shines as he did Sunday, it's difficult to disregard how dangerous Seattle can be when everything clicks.

Comparatively, that's where the Texans stand with Watson at the controls. Wilson started from the onset of his rookie season and hasn't missed a start in his six-year career, methodically building on his first-year success to secure a standing among the elite at his position.

Based on what Watson has managed in five weeks as the starter, plenty are projecting a similar career path. Inserting Watson into the starting lineup as a rookie might ultimately serve Houston as well as it did the Seahawks when they did the same with Wilson.

"It depends on the player," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "You got to get them out there. They can't learn not playing. There's stuff that they can learn, but in the case of guys that have the physical ability, you got to get them out there and get them going so that they can start stacking up information and start to build kind of a background and a reservoir of experiences they can draw from."

Updated October 26, 2017

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