Houston hadn’t overwhelmed Contemporary England in almost a full decade when its offense lined up for a most essential-and-goal snap from the 6-yard line within the fourth quarter. A landing right here would give the team a three-possession lead and successfully extinguish the sport. More importantly, a fourth landing would attach a large dent within the status of the Patriots’ elite defense.
Then again, no longer undoubtedly among the Texans’ prior three scores had device from internal the 10-yard line. Cracking the Pats’ unit, compressed by the tip zone in a determined field, would grab some creative thinking.
With DeAndre Carter in motion running to his left, Watson handed the ball off to Johnson, who followed Carter’s lead … fast. Johnson handed the ball to Hopkins, who ran aid to the upright with Watson flanking him. When Contemporary England’s linebackers began to rupture down on the All-Legitimate wideout, he pitched the ball to his quarterback, who dove the closing few yards to the corner of the tip zone.
Texans 28, Patriots 9.
The reverse-choice pitch to the quarterback wasn’t one thing the Patriots had deliberate for; Houston had by no diagram creep it sooner than. But while head coach Invoice O’Brien joked the play seemed prefer it came straight from a pickup game after note, it changed into once in actual fact one thing he’d been engaged on, expecting the upright time to debut.
“I mediate they drew that one up within the dust over the bye week, and they brought it in and had it on a allotment of notebook paper and handed it to me,” O’Brien facetiously told reporters later on.
“Nah, we’ve been engaged on that for some time. It changed into once all about the timing. The place we would possibly perhaps maybe salvage the ball so we would possibly perhaps maybe creep a play like that. And the timing changed into once upright.”
There changed into once some truth to his normal joke, though. In line with Watson, he brought the principle of the modified choice to offensive coordinator Tim Kelly after watching some game tape.
Despite no longer taking part in both Minnesota or Chicago this season, Watson and backup AJ McCarron had been poring over frail NFL games after they stumbled on a Vikings-Bears showdown from extra than two years ago. In it, then-rookie Mitchell Trubisky walked untouched into the tip zone for a two-level conversion after taking a pitch from tight extinguish Zach Miller:
Watson and McCarron confirmed Kelly the Chicago subterfuge, after which the Texans started working tweaking it. They changed their formation and sent Carter in motion to sell the principle of a creep to the left. Then they drilled it to perfection in note.
“We saved engaged on it and we knew it changed into once the ideal time where when we salvage internal that 5 it changed into once going to device aid,” talked about Watson. “So it changed into once correct.”
The Texans leaned in to the explosive and irreplaceable skills that makes them so complex to web website against. The quiz now would possibly perhaps maybe perhaps be whether or no longer or no longer this would possibly maybe perhaps maybe point out a altering of the guard by system of O’Brien’s playcalling or whether or no longer this unexpected outburst of peculiar trickery will seemingly be an outlier in Houston’s 2019.
The selection TD changed into once uncharacteristic for the Texans, which helped it work
O’Brien is no longer worthy for trick plays. Since 2014, handiest 31 of his 2,726 runs (1.1 p.c) possess been handed off or pitched to gamers who aren’t running backs or QBs. Appropriate five of his team’s three,106 passes (zero.Sixteen p.c) possess been thrown by non-quarterbacks. The final time Houston opted to swap things up in its passing game it ended disastrously:
There’s an argument the Texans don’t must trade things up worthy attributable to Watson’s skill to sling the ball. The dual-threat quarterback is proficient from the pocket (a Fifty four p.c completion price on throws of 10+ yards). He’s additionally got undoubtedly among the league’s high wideouts at his ready in Hopkins and a devastating deep threat subsequent to him in Will Fuller.
That’s a solid community in a former offense, nonetheless Sunday’s out of doorways-the-field thinking confirmed what the Texans can manufacture after they’re allowed to pass the ball previous their former offensive roles. Watson has creep for impartial about six yards per elevate and is tied for the team lead in rushing touchdowns below O’Brien attributable to his 12 scores.
Now imagine a play like that, handiest thrown to Watson. Or Hopkins. Or Johnson. The Texans possess a ton of versatile athletes they are able to swap out in account for to defend defenses from ever getting in actual fact comfortable. Week thirteen’s landing pitch would possibly perhaps maybe finest be the beginning place.
This doesn’t point out Houston should quiet rely upon an all-gimmick offense. Throwing Watson into the line of hearth any additional than he already he within the aid of the Texans’ shaky-nonetheless-enhancing offensive line is relationship distress.
Even so, the Texans possess been a correct nonetheless unthreatening team for most of their existence below O’Brien, despite having Watson to sever up opposing defenses. Houston has perpetually lacked the extra gear most essential to damage thru the Divisional Spherical of the playoffs. That’s where the Texans possess been ousted by the Patriots in two of their final four postseason appearances — the the same team O’Brien iced Sunday with a miniature bit creative playcalling for his first-ever comprise against the coach he labored for from 2007-2011.
Week thirteen confirmed the Texans are beginning to embracing new tips, even though they’re lovingly lifted from a 2017 Bears team that won five games. If that lasts, it would smartly be the paradigm shift that raises the franchise’s ceiling from “correct” to “mountainous.” If it doesn’t, smartly, the Texans quiet possess Watson and Hopkins available to torch defenses the frail-customary system.