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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.

Player Notes
Tyreek Hill Jan 24 10:30pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill put together another strong performance on Sunday versus the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game. Hill caught nine of his 11 targets for a team high 172 yards against the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game. Hill wasn't able to get a touchdown in this contest, but he was dominant nonetheless. Hill has had a phenomenal season and he will look to keep that going versus a tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense in Super Bowl 55. He remains one of the best at his position and will be a top option for those participating in DFS.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Mahomes Jan 24 10:23pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes completed 29 of his 38 passes for 325 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-24 win over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 24. WR Tyreek Hill had nine catches for 172 yards, and TE Travis Kelce had 13 receptions for 118 yards and two touchdowns. WR Mecole Hardman had two catches for four yards and a score to go along with a 50-yard run and a lost fumble on special teams. RB Darrel Williams rushed 13 times for 52 yards and a touchdown and added one catch for nine yards. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had six carries for seven yards and a score. LB Frank Clark recorded a pair of sacks, and S Juan Thornhill broke up four passes.

From TheHuddle

Clyde Edwards-Helaire Jan 24 10:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire scored a touchdown in his return to action versus the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game. The rookie player a minor role on Sunday with Darrel Williams being the featured back and Le'Veon Bell (knee) inactive. CEH picked up just seven yards on six carries and caught one of his two targets for zero yards, but it was good to see him return to action for the first time since injuring his ankle and hip in Week 15. Edwards-Helaire will now have two weeks to rest up before facing a tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense in the Super Bowl and he should be avoided in DFS for that contest.

From RotoBaller

Darrel Williams Jan 24 10:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running Darrel Williams rushed the ball 13 times for 52 yards and a touchdown versus the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game. Williams has performed well with Clyde Edwards-Helaire sidelined, but the rookie returned on Sunday and figures to play a bigger role in the future. Williams will also have to compete with Le'Veon Bell (knee) who was inactive on Sunday and could return for the Super Bowl. The Chiefs are a pass heavy team and will face a tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense Super Bowl 55. That will make Williams a risky option in DFS.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Mahomes Jan 24 10:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes helped lead his two to their second consecutive Super Bowl with a victory against the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game. Mahomes was his usual self and completed 29 of his 38 pass attempts for 325 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed the ball five times for five yards. Mahomes is now the only player in NFL history to reach three straight championship games before the age of 26 and will now go to his second straight Super Bowl. Mahomes is putting up legendary numbers in his young career and he will square off against Tom Brady and a tough Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense for the chance to win his second Super Bowl ring in two weeks.

From RotoBaller

Travis Kelce Jan 24 10:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs tight end had a monster night versus the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game. Kelce has been setting all kinds of records this season and he has now jumped Rob Gronkowski for the most receiving yards in a season that includes the postseason for a tight end. Kelce had 13 catches on 15 targets for 118 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Kelce remains the top option with wide receiver Tyreek Hill for the Chiefs and he should be expected to play a big role in the Super Bowl versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kelce remains the top tight end option in the league and he will be one of the safer options in DFS.

From RotoBaller

Mecole Hardman Jan 24 10:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman had himself a day versus the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game. Hardman had a rough start to the contest by dropping a punt that would lead to a Bills touchdown, but salvaged his day by catching two of his three targets for a 3-Yard touchdown and four total yards on the evening. He also picked up 50 yards on his lone carry. Hardman is an exciting player, but remains a shaky play for managers with the Chiefs having so many options on offense. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins (calf) also sat out this contest and his return would factor into Hardman's snap count. Hardman is always capable of breaking a big play and he will look to do that versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55.

From RotoBaller

Travis Kelce Jan 24 8:53pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce went over 100 receiving yards in the third quarter of the AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills. He became the first tight end in NFL history with five postseason games of 100 or more receiving yards.

From TheHuddle

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jan 24 7:50pm ET

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense played another strong game in a 31-26 win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game. Tampa Bay sacked Aaron Rodgers five times, forcing one interception and a fumble in the huge win. The Buccaneers' pass rush was fueled by two players- linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who had three sacks and four quarterback hits, and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who had two sacks. Rising star Devin White led the team in tackles with 15, as he was a thorn in the side of the Packers' offensive plans all game long. Tampa Bay's defense will have its hands full in the Super Bowl against either Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen, though this unit is playing some excellent football at the right time.

From RotoBaller

Rob Gronkowski Jan 24 7:40pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski caught just one pass for 29 yards in his team's 31-26 win over the Packers. Gronkowski went catch-less through three quarters before picking up 29 yards on a screen pass in the fourth quarter, setting up Tampa Bay for a field goal. The former Patriot has nearly been an every-down player for the Buccaneers in the playoffs but has done little as a pass-catcher, as he's taken a backseat to fellow tight end Cameron Brate. No stranger to the big game, Gronkowski will get a chance to redeem himself in the Super Bowl.

From RotoBaller

Cameron Brate Jan 24 7:40pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate played a key role in another playoff victory for his team. Brate produced just 19 total yards, though he caught a third-quarter touchdown that helped extend the Buccaneers' lead to 28-10. The Harvard product exceeded 50 yards just once in the regular season but has accomplished the feat twice in Tampa Bay's three playoff wins. Tom Brady clearly has a trust for Brate as a pass-catcher, something that appears likely to continue as Tampa Bay prepares to be the first team to host and play in the Super Bowl.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Whitehead Jan 24 7:33pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers S Jordan Whitehead (shoulder) suffered a shoulder injury in the second half of the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers. He will have two weeks to recover before Super Bowl LV.

From TheHuddle

Scott Miller Jan 24 7:30pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Scotty Miller saw extended playing time with Antonio Brown (knee) sidelined and made the most of it. Miller caught two passes for 36 receiving yards and a touchdown in the NFC title game victory. He came up with a huge play at the very end of the first half, hauling in a 39-yard bomb from Tom Brady with just seconds left until halftime. Miller has shown a knack for making big plays when given the playing time, as he has three scores this year of 30 yards or more. His services may not be needed in the Super Bowl if Antonio Brown (knee) is healthy.

From RotoBaller

Chris Godwin Jan 24 7:20pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin enjoyed a strong game in Sunday's NFC title game win over Green Bay. Godwin hauled in five of a team-high nine targets for 110 receiving yards. He came up with a huge, 52-yard grab that led to a Leonard Fournette touchdown in the first half. Godwin has exceeded 70 receiving yards in four of his last five contests and has led the Buccaneers in targets in each of their three playoff wins. While Antonio Brown (knee) will have a good chance of returning in time for the Super Bowl, Godwin should remain Brady's top target for the big game in Tampa Bay.

From RotoBaller

Ronald Jones II Jan 24 7:10pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II was stifled by the Green Bay defense, though his team will still be advancing to the Super Bowl. Jones carried the ball 10 times but produced just 16 yards, as he failed to find any room to run on the Packers' front. He's taken a backseat to Leonard Fournette during the playoffs, though the coaching staff seems committed to keeping this backfield as somewhat of a split. Jones should be well-positioned for a bounce-back performance in the Super Bowl regardless of opponent, as both the Bills and Chiefs have had their struggles stopping the run.

From RotoBaller

Mike Evans Jan 24 7:10pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans caught three of eight targets for 51 yards and a touchdown. Most of Evans' production came in the first half, as he found himself free of Jaire Alexander's coverage on the first series of the game. He beat corner Kevin King in the end zone for a score, his 15th total touchdown of the season- including the playoffs. He did struggle with some drops, though he'll get a chance to rectify that in the Super Bowl. Tampa Bay will await the winner of the Chiefs-Bills game.

From RotoBaller

Robert Tonyan Jan 24 7:00pm ET

Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan caught four passes for only 22 yards in the team's 31-26 loss to the Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game. Tonyan led the NFL in the regular season, among tight ends, with 11 touchdowns but was held in check in this game. The Packers tried to get Tonyan on the run with some bootleg passes but the Buccaneers did an excellent job tackling on the edges. The 26-year-old enjoyed a breakout campaign but could be over-valued heading into the offseason due to touchdown-regression next season.

From RotoBaller

Leonard Fournette Jan 24 7:00pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette carried the ball 12 times for 55 rushing yards and a touchdown in a 31-26 win over the Packers. Fournette added five catches for 19 yards. The star back delivered a highlight-reel touchdown in the first half, bouncing a run to the outside and pulling off an impressive spin move en route to the end zone. He's been very productive for Tampa Bay during their playoff run- averaging 20.7 touches and 104.3 scrimmage yards per game along with three scores in three contests. Fournette should continue to operate as the 1a to Ronald Jones II's 1b when Tampa Bay plays in the Super Bowl.

From RotoBaller

Allen Lazard Jan 24 7:00pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Allen Lazard caught three passes for 62 yards in the team's 31-26 loss to the Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game. Lazard saw six targets in the game and made some nice contributions as the Packers played from behind most of the game. Lazard got off to a solid start this season but injuries prevented him from taking his game to another level. The 25-year-old finished the regular season with 33 receptions for 451 yards with three touchdowns. But the Packers head into the offseason still looking for a true complementary receiver to produce alongside star receiver Davante Adams. Whether Lazard can step into that role will depend on his development during the offseason.

From RotoBaller

Davante Adams Jan 24 6:50pm ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams caught nine passes for 67 yards with one touchdown in the team's 31-26 loss to the Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game. Tampa Bay did all it could to contain Adams and, for the most part, did a solid job. But Adams is too talented to be shut down for long and picked up his 20th (regular season and playoffs combined) touchdown of the season. The elite receiver was able to move the chains on some smaller receptions but was unable to truly bust out. Adams finished the regular season with 115 receptions for 1,374 yards and 18 touchdowns.. He then backed that up with 18 receptions and two touchdowns in two playoff games. Adams will sit atop the fantasy charts among wide receivers heading into the offseason.

From RotoBaller