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Impressive numbers from Texans Deshaun Watson in rookie season

Watson among league's best in rookie season

HOUSTON – For anyone who watched the Houston Texans first seven games of the 2017 season, it was pretty evident that rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson was something special.

Watson started the second half of the team's season opener and led the team on a touchdown drive on his very first series as an NFL player. He started the next six games with the team going 3-3 before he was lost for the season due a torn ACL suffered in practice. 

Houston won just once in the 10 games Watson didn't start.

Now that the season is complete, some pretty interesting Watson numbers (126-204, 61.8% comp., 1699 yds, 19 TD, 8 INT) stand out. (All numbers below required min. 200 pass attempts) (224 pass attempts required to qualify for NFL league leaders).

- Watson led the NFL in TD percentage (9.3). He tossed 19 touchdown passes on his 204 attempts. Every team in the NFL had at least one quarterback with 200 pass attempts, 35 quarterbacks reached that threshold overall and Watson was tops among them. Only three other quarterbacks topped 6.0 TD percentage (C. Wentz 7.5, A. Rodgers 6.7, R. Wilson 6.1)

- Watson also had the highest yards per pass attempt (8.33) among those quarterbacks. Drew Brees (8.09) and Alex Smith (8.00) were the only other two quarterbacks with eight yards per pass attempt or higher.

- Watson’s passer rating was 103.0, which was good for third in the league. Only Brees (104.7) and Smith (103.9) finished with a higher rating than Watson. Watson finished just ahead of Tom Brady (102.8) and Carson Wentz (101.9) who led the Patriots and Eagles, respectively, to the top seeds in the AFC and NFC in the playoffs. 

- His 9.3 TD percentage was easily the best in Texans history. Next closest was Sage Rosenfels (6.3 in 2007), who interestingly was only sacked six times while attempting 240 passes. Rosenfels also posted a franchise worst interception percentage of 5.0 that season.

- Since the Texans inaugural 2002 season, there have been 557 instances of a quarterback attempting at least 200 passes, Watson's 9.3 TD percentage in 2017 ranks second among that group, trailing only  Peyton Manning's 2004 season (9.9 TD percentage, 49 TD).

- Watson’s 103.0 passer rating was the first in team history of better than 100.0. Previous best was in 2009, Matt Schaub posted a 98.6 passer rating.

- Among the 39 quarterbacks with at least 10 rushing attempts, Watson’s 7.47 yards per attempt ranked 2nd (Brett Hundley 7.50).

Here are some numbers to represent some of the difference between Watson and the other quarterbacks used by the Texans.

- The combined passer rating for the Texans other three quarterbacks (T. Savage, T. Yates, T. Heinicke) in 2017 was 69.9 (173-321, 53.9% comp., 1945 yds, 9 TD, 9 INT). As noted above, Watson’s rating was 103.0.

- Yates completed just 48.4% of his 97 passes. Since the Texans entered the league in 2002, there have been 707 instances of a quarterback attempting at least 97 passes in a season - his 48.4% completion percentage is the 10th worst of those 707 instances. Four of the nine quarterbacks with lower completion percentages were rookies, Yates just finished his seventh NFL season.

- The Texans quarterbacks combined to lose 9 fumbles this season, Watson lost one (464 snaps), Yates (206) lost one and Savage (421 snaps) lost seven. (Heinicke lost none in nine snaps)

- The Texans had only one game all season in which they did not turn the ball over. That game was the Watson’s first start in the NFL, week 2 at Cincinnati. The Texans won 13-9 and their only touchdown was Watson’s 49-yard run - which would turn out to be the longest run of the season for the Texans. 

- Four of Watson’s six starts came against teams that made the 2017 playoffs. Texans went 1-3 in those games, though they outscored their opponents in those four games by 29 points. (Win by 43, losses by 3, 8 and 3)

- Five of the other 10 games came against teams that made the 2017 playoffs. Texans went 0-5 in those games and were outscored by 125 points. (Losses by 22, 26, 11, 38 and 28).