Seahawks Matchup Spotlight: Deshaun Watson

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 15: Quarterback Deshaun Watson
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 15: Quarterback Deshaun Watson /

The Seahawks take on rookie sensation Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans at home this Sunday. Does Watson have what it takes?

There are two types of quarterbacks in the NFL today: those who can beat the Seahawks, and those who can’t. Defensive coordinator Kris Richard added Eli Manning to the long list of quarterbacks who can’t beat the Legion of Boom last week (not surprising–he may have already been there).

Typical quarterbacks who can beat–maybe not have wildly successful games, but at least compete against–the Seahawks have a few commonalities. First, they have to withstand the Seahawks pass rush with either big bodies, quick releases, or scrambling abilities.

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson appears to have all three of those attributes. The 6’2″, 221-lb rookie out of Clemson has shown ability to take hits, avoid hits with his footwork, and make good reads quickly.

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Big-bodied quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger have fared well against the Seahawks in the past because they don’t go down easy. Scrambling and making accurate throws on the run is a tough ask, but if you’re going to beat the best secondary in the league on their home turf, that’s the way you have to do it.

A quick release, like that of Tom Brady, who has moved the ball against the LOB, also helps against the Seahawks cover-three base defense. Getting the ball out quickly neutralizes the pass rush, obviously, but it also allows receivers to attack seams in zone coverage before Earl Thomas and company close out throwing windows.

Since taking over as Houston’s starting quarterback in Week 2 (he came on in relief in Week 1), Watson has been impressive. Houston is only 3-2 in his starts, but his 8.6 touchdown rate is the best in the league at this point. He’s thrown 15 touchdowns against only five picks, and added 202 rushing yards and two scores.

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Seahawks at Texans Wild Plays

Last time we played the Texans, we pushed #AlwaysCompete to the max with an electric comeback win! #GoHawks

Posted by Seattle Seahawks on Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Texans coach Bill O’Brien will likely try to get running back Lamar Miller a few carries early in the game, even if they’re not effective against a stout Seahawks front, to get Watson a few play-action calls. Watson has a 121.9 QB rating off of play-action (fourth-best in the league) so far this year. It will be a test for both the red-hot rookie and the LOB.