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FFL: Offseason | NFL: Divisional

Deshaun Watson's 4 TDs lift Texans to 41-25 win over Lions

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By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson throws during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller catches a 34-yard pass for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia adjusts his face mask during the second half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


Detroit Lions running back Adrian Peterson breaks through the Houston Texans defense for a 1-yard touchdown run during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)


Detroit Lions running back Adrian Peterson breaks through the Houston Texans defense for a 1-yard touchdown run during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)


Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) celebrates his interception for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) runs into the end zone for a touchdown after incepting a pass intended for Detroit Lions fullback Jason Cabinda during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)


Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws under pressure during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)


Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson (33) runs out of bounds as Houston Texans strong safety Justin Reid (20) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


DETROIT (AP) Deshaun Watson dropped back in a protected pocket at midfield and perfectly lofted one of his four touchdown passes, connecting with Will Fuller in stride just before he reached the end zone.

Houston's star quarterback made it look easy, and the Detroit Lions did their part to not put up much of a fight.

Watson had a pair of go-ahead touchdown passes in the first half and threw for two more scores in the fourth quarter to help Houston pull away and beat Detroit 41-25 Thursday.

And still, he wasn't satisfied.

''It was definitely good, but I missed two touchdowns,'' Watson said.

The dynamic quarterback finished 17 of 25 for 318 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He has thrown 15 touchdown passes without getting picked off once in the past six games.

''You've got to give some credit to the guys up front,'' interim coach Romeo Crennel said. ''If they give him time, he's able to make plays. Guys can get open and he can hit them. He has that kind of accuracy.''

Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt had an early pick-6 and Fuller had six receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns, including a 40-yard touchdown catch in which it looked like he and Watson were all alone on a practice field.

The Texans (4-7) have won two straight for the first time this season and three of their past four games with Crennel.

''That's good, but we haven't won enough,'' Crennel said.

The Lions haven't, either, and it might cost at least one man his job.

Detroit (4-7) might end the season with interim leaders after losing consecutive games for the third time this season, dropping coach Matt Patricia's record to 13-29-1 and general manager Bob Quinn's mark to 12 games under .500 over five seasons.

Patricia was peppered with questions about his job being in jeopardy, and evaded each query.

''My focus every day is on the guys in that locker room and working as hard as I can to help them be successful,'' he said.

The Lions retained Patricia and Quinn for this season and ownership said there was an expectation they contend for the playoffs by playing in meaningful games in December. And, that seems highly unlikely.

Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford said the scrutiny on Patricia has not appeared to affect him.

''He's the same guy every day,'' Stafford said. ''The guy comes to work, grinds, and wants to win like all of us. He's a passionate coach, who loves the game. I've had a lot of respect with how he's continued to come to work.''

Detroit, which was coming off its first shutout loss since 2009, scored first before collapsing with turnovers on two straight snaps and three consecutive possessions in the first half. Houston's defense entered the game with an NFL-low five forced turnovers.

Watt put his hands up on a rush just in time to pick off Stafford's pass and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.

''I saw he was going to throw quickly so I stopped rushing and jumped up,'' Watt recalled. ''It hit me square in the hands.''

On Detroit's next snap, Jonathan Williams fumbled and Houston took advantage with Watson's 2-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Prosise to go ahead 13-6.

''Three turnovers early in the game killed the momentum,'' Stafford said.

Watson's 33-yard touchdown pass to Duke Johnson gave the Texans a 20-14 lead early in the second quarter.

Watson's first touchdown pass to Fuller early in the fourth put Houston ahead 34-17. He connected again with Fuller, who was wide open, with a 34-yard touchdown on a trick play after handing the ball off and getting it back on a lateral.

Stafford was 28 of 42 for 295 yards with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu in the fourth and an interception that Watt returned for a score. Detroit's Adrian Peterson had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs in the first half - and tried to take some blame off Patricia for the latest loss.

''It has nothing to do with the head coach,'' Peterson said.

BROTHERLY LOVE

Detroit defensive back C.J. Moore and Houston defensive back A.J. Moore, identical twins, embraced before the game and played against each other for the first time.

ELITE COMPANY

Watt became the third NFL player to have at least 100 sacks and six touchdowns in a career. The others are Jason Taylor and Julius Peppers.

TRUMP'S TAKE

Watson and Stafford were among a handful of players on both teams that took a knee during the national anthem, a social justice statement that didn't sit well with President Donald Trump.

''No thanks!'' Trump tweeted.

INJURY REPORT

Texans: FB Cullen Gillaspia (back) and WR Kenny Stills (quadricep) were inactive.

Lions: CB Desmond Trufant aggravated a hamstring injury in the second quarter in another setback for a secondary that had rookie CB Jeff Okudah (shoulder) and CB Mike Ford (concussion) inactive. RB D'Andre Swift (concussion) along with WRs Kenny Golladay (hip) also missed the game.

UP NEXT

Texans host Indianapolis on Dec. 6.

Lions play at Chicago on Dec. 6.

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Player Notes
Baltimore Ravens Jan 15 9:00pm ET

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters (back) and offensive guard D.J. Fluker (knee) were both listed as questionable for the Divisional Round game against the Bills on Saturday night. Peters and Fluker were both limited in practice on Thursday, so they have a chance to be active against Buffalo. Peters also missed several games near the end of the regular season with a calf injury. We expect him to play through the pain in a very tough matchup with a Bills offense that can put up points with the best of them. Most DFS gamers will be avoiding Baltimore's stout defense this weekend, but they could surprise folks on Saturday night, especially if there is snow on the field.

From RotoBaller

New Orleans Saints Jan 15 9:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson (hamstring) has been ruled out against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Sunday's Divisional Round matchup, the third between the two clubs this season. Robinson missed practice all week. New Orleans still has a solid defense overall on the edges of the secondary with Janoris Jenkins and Marshon Lattimore locking things down, but Robinson's absence will be felt at nickelback. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson will be tasked with slowing down Tampa wideout Chris Godwin this weekend. The Saints Defense will still be a strong fantasy unit on Sunday, but only if they can get some pressure on future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. In two games against the Saints in the regular season, Godwin had nine catches (13 targets) for 120 yards.

From RotoBaller

Josh Gordon Jan 15 8:50pm ET

The NFL rescinded Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Josh Gordon's conditional reinstatement on Friday and left him banned from the league indefinitely. Gordon was added to the team's active roster three weeks ago and was set to return to the field when he had a setback in his battle with substance abuse that broke the terms of his conditional reinstatement. He missed the entire 2020 campaign after being suspended in December of 2019. This year was the third time he's missed an entire season since entering the league in 2012. The 29-year-old has been suspended by the NFL six times and has 247 career catches while making the All-Pro team in 2013 with Cleveland. What a shame. Gordon has so much talent and is still on the right side of 30 years old, but he may never get another chance in the NFL due to his latest setback.

From RotoBaller

Cooper Kupp Jan 15 8:50pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (knee) is listed as questionable for the Divisional Round against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday. Kupp missed practice all week, so fantasy managers should certainly be way of quarterback Jared Goff's top target if he's active this weekend. Kupp's injury wasn't deemed serious last weekend when he left late in the wild-card win over the Seahawks, but it could very well limit him if he suits up against Green Bay. Wide receivers Robert Woods, Josh Reynolds and rookie Van Jefferson could see more targets if Kupp has his snaps limited, but all of LA's pass-catchers should be knocked down a peg with Goff fighting through a surgically repaired right thumb.

From RotoBaller

Matt Ryan Jan 15 8:40pm ET

The Atlanta Falcons hired Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith as their new head coach on Friday, according to sources. Smith was the team's top choice all along, so they get their man. The 38-year-old was one of seven coaching candidates for Atlanta after the team fired Dan Quinn on Oct. 11. Smith is expected to pair with New Orleans Saints assistant general manager/vice president of player personnel, who is expect to be Atlanta's next GM. Smith spent the last 10 seasons with the Titans but stood out the last two years as the team's offensive coordinator, helping the Titans reach the playoffs the last two seasons. Tennessee was the only team in the NFL that ranked in the top five in rushing yards per game (153.5) and passer rating (107) since 2019. He'll try to help an Atlanta team that went 4-12 in 2020 and that hasn't made the playoffs the last three years. Smith should be a good fit if quarterback Matt Ryan and veteran receiver Julio Jones stick around.

From RotoBaller

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jan 15 7:50pm ET

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense is a solid option ahead of a huge playoff matchup with the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. At one point, Tampa Bay looked like the best defense in the league, but they've since fallen on hard times. Despite this, the Buccaneers still possess talent at all three levels of the defense. Tampa Bay can stop the run and rush the passer, a combination that could lead to turnovers committed by Saints quarterback Drew Brees. The Bucs will need to find their defensive mojo if they want to advance- it's worth betting on for DFS purposes.

From RotoBaller

Rob Gronkowski Jan 15 7:30pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski had a catch-less game last week against Washington but could bounce back in Sunday's matchup with the Saints. Gronkowski wasn't a big part of the gameplan last week- at least as a receiver- though that could change against the Saints. The veteran tight end has risen to the occasion in big games this year- 6-106-0 against the Chiefs and 5-78-1 against the Packers- and this would be the biggest stage yet this season. The Tom Brady-Gronkowski connection failed fantasy managers last week, but it's worth going back to be more time.

From RotoBaller

Antonio Brown Jan 15 7:20pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown possesses upside for fantasy purposes in a playoff matchup with the Saints. Brown had only just signed with the team when he took part in his team's blowout loss to the Saints. Since then, he has rounded into form, with five touchdowns in his last four contests, including two games with at least 90 yards receiving. Brown is looking more and more like the dynamic playmaker who made a name for himself in Pittsburgh- and he could be a real x-factor in this game. He's probably a bit riskier than his two fellow wideouts, though he has the most upside against New Orleans' tough defense.

From RotoBaller

Chris Godwin Jan 15 7:00pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (hip, quad) has no injury designation and will be out there for the divisional round battle against the Saints. Godwin is rolling right now, as he has averaged 9.3 targets per game over his last three contests, having produced at least 79 yards and a touchdown in each of them. Fellow wideout Mike Evans will have to deal with Saints' corner Marshon Lattimore, who could potentially take him out of the game. Godwin would likely see more targets if that happens, though he makes for a good DFS play- despite the Saints' fifth-ranked pass defense.

From RotoBaller

Mike Evans Jan 15 6:30pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans takes on the Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs. Evans comes into the contest having exceeded 100 receiving yards in three of his last four games, with two touchdowns scored. However, he'll be in for a tough test against New Orleans' cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who has yet to allow a catch to Evans in coverage this year. The big-bodied wideout is talented enough to beat any corner, but this seems to be a tough matchup for him in his career. If you turn to Evans in DFS this week, you're probably just hoping he finds the end zone a couple of times.

From RotoBaller

Leonard Fournette Jan 15 6:10pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette will be in for a tough test against the Saints' stingy defense this weekend. Fournette will get the start after teammate Ronald Jones II (quad, finger) was deemed a game-time decision. The veteran back is coming off a season-high 19 carries against Washington, though the Saints Defense is a much different beast against the run. They were one of just five teams to allow under 100 rushing yards per game this season, and they held Tampa Bay to just 94 rushing yards in two regular-season games. Even if Fournette gets the backfield to himself, this is far from an ideal matchup. He should be avoided this week in DFS.

From RotoBaller

Tom Brady Jan 15 5:50pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady gets a tough matchup against the Saints in the divisional round on Sunday. Brady is coming off of a 381-yard, two-touchdown performance against the league's second-best pass defense last week- and gets another top-five unit in New Orleans this weekend. The veteran signal-caller tossed five interceptions in two regular-season losses against the Saints, though the Buccaneers' offense is more dangerous lately- having scored 30-plus points in each of their last four games. Brady will be motivated to prove that the regular-season losses were flukes and may have to use his arm to do so. He's a good fantasy option in what could be a very competitive game.

From RotoBaller

Von Miller Jan 15 4:20pm ET

Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller is the subject of a police investigation in Parker, Colorado, although police haven't specified why they are investigating the former Super Bowl MVP. Miller missed the entire 2020 season after suffering a season-ending ankle injury in practice just days before the season opener. The 31-year-old was suspended for six games in 2013 for violating the league's substance-abuse policy and also had an arrest warrant issued that same summer after a failure to appear in court after multiple traffic violations. The Broncos face a decision on the pass-rusher, as he is heading into the final year of his six-year, $114.5 million deal he signed in 2016. If they release Miller, the team would face a dead-money charge of $4.125 million against the salary cap for 2021.

From RotoBaller

Sammy Watkins Jan 15 4:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins (calf) and linebacker Willie Gay (ankle) missed practice all week and will not play in the Divisional Round against the Browns on Sunday. Watkins suffered a calf injury in Week 16 and was held out of the Week 17 regular season finale, but two weeks of rest wasn't enough to allow him to play in the Chiefs first playoff game this year. With the 27-year-old inactive, Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman have a better chance of exploding for a big play against Cleveland's shaky secondary this weekend. While both pass-catchers should see increased targets, they are both still boom/bust fantasy options in an offense with plenty of other weapons. If KC advances past the Browns, Watkins won't be guaranteed to be available for the AFC Championship game.

From RotoBaller

Clyde Edwards-Helaire Jan 15 4:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle, hip) missed practice on Thursday and Friday and is questionable to play against the Browns in the Divisional Round on Sunday. Tight end Deon Yelder (groin) and cornerback Rashad Fenton (ankle, foot) are also questionable. It's disappointing for Edwards-Helaire after he was limited in practice back on Wednesday. It's looking like the promising rookie will be a game-time decision on Sunday, and even if he's active, he could split more of the workload with veteran Le'Veon Bell against Cleveland. Another one to worry about is Darrel Williams, who looked more explosive than Bell when CEH was out in Week 16. The bottom line is that Edwards-Helaire is shaping up to be one to avoid for fantasy lineups in the Divisional Round.

From RotoBaller

David Njoku Jan 15 4:00pm ET

Cleveland Browns tight ends David Njoku (hamstring) and Stephen Carlson (groin), offensive tackle Jack Conklin (hamstring, knee) and linebacker B.J. Goodson (shoulder) are questionable for the Divisional Round against the Chiefs on Sunday. Carlson was the only one of the four who was not able to practice on Friday, so the other three should have a good chance of being available against Kansas City. Njoku caught his only target for just seven yards in the wild-card upset over the division-rival Steelers and will continue to take a back seat to Austin Hooper if he's active for the Divisional Round. Njoku has played second fiddle all season, catching only 19 passes (29 targets) for 213 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games (five starts). You can ignore him for fantasy lineups.

From RotoBaller

Sammy Watkins Jan 15 2:23pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (calf) did not practice again Friday, Jan. 15, and will be be ruled out for Sunday's divisional playoff matchup with the Cleveland Browns.

Fantasy Spin: This will be the seventh game Watkins will miss this season, meaning more targets for WRs Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle likely are in store.

From TheHuddle

Ronald Jones II Jan 15 1:20pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said that running back Ronald Jones II (calf, finger) was feeling better on Friday, but he will be a game-time decision against the Saints in the Divisional Round on Sunday. Leonard Fournette will start the game. Jones was limited in practice on Thursday after not playing in the wild-card win over Washington. It sounds like Jones has a chance to see some action against New Orleans, but he won't start and will be an extremely risky fantasy selection in the Divisional Round. Fournette saw the lion's share of backfield work last weekend and had a season-high 19 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown on the ground, adding four catches for 39 yards. He'll have a much tougher go of it this weekend, though, against a Saints Defense that allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to RBs in 2020.

From RotoBaller

Dawson Knox Jan 15 1:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox has picked it up during the second half of the season. Since Week 12, Knox has hauled in four touchdowns, including one against the Indianapolis Colts last week. Sadly, the Bills have so many weapons on offense that Knox doesn't see a significant amount of targets. It's tough to believe he'll be able to do much damage against the Baltimore Ravens this weekend. He'll be a low-cost option, but doesn't have much upside heading into this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Ronald Jones II Jan 15 12:53pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Ronald Jones (quadriceps) is expected be a game-time decision Sunday, Jan. 17, for the divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints.

Fantasy Spin: Jones was active but didn't play in the wild-card win over Washington last week, and it's certainly going to be tough to trust him if he's active this time around as Leonard Fournette already has been declared the starter Sunday in New Orleans.

From TheHuddle