Watt criticizes Texans defense after opening loss

Tue Sep 10 1:25am ET
By GUERRY SMITH
Associated Press

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) carries for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)


New Orleans Saints defensive end Trey Hendrickson (91) sacks Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)


Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) celebrates his touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)


New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan tries to bat down a pass by Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) as offensive guard Zach Fulton blocks in the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)


NEW ORLEANS (AP) Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans appeared poised several times to open the season with a victory over the favored New Orleans Saints in the Superdome.

J.J. Watt laid the blame on the defense for letting it get away.

Houston led 14-3 at halftime, 21-10 in the third quarter and 28-27 with 37 seconds left, only to let the Saints pull out a dramatic victory on a last-second field goal.

Watson had turned in a memorable performance, and his third touchdown pass gave the Texans a last-minute lead. But Drew Brees completed three straight passes and Wil Lutz drilled a 58-yard kick as time ran out to hand Houston a frustrating 30-28 loss.

''That's on us,'' Watt said of the Texans defense. ''There's a lot of things that are on us. To hold them to three points in the first half and then give up 27 in the second, that's just terrible. And for our offense to give us the lead with 40 seconds left, or whatever it was, and not win the game, we'll take 100 percent of that blame, as we should.''

The Saints scored touchdowns on their first three possessions of the second half, punted only once after the break and added two field goals in the final minute.

Lutz's winning kick spoiled a huge night from Watson, who ran for a 21-yard touchdown on a fourth-down play and completed 20 of 30 passes for 268 yards. His final two passes were perfect strikes to DeAndre Hopkins for 38 yards and former Saints receiver Kenny Stills on a 37-yard post pattern as the Texans went 75 yards in 13 seconds to take one last late lead.

''As long as we can keep it within range, we are in every game, and that's what Deshaun Watson gives us,'' Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. ''He's a great player, he's competitive, he's calm and he's poised. He's got all that.''

Hopkins had eight catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns.

The Texans also ran for 180 yards, more than the Saints allowed in any game last season. Carlos Hyde, picked up in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs at the end of August, had 83 yards on 10 carries.

It wasn't quite enough in New Orleans.

''Every loss is tough,'' Watson said. ''Getting blown out, losing by 14 or losing on a last-second field goal is very tough. That's football. You've got to give that kicker props. He did a great job for them.''

Converting six consecutive third downs, Houston scored touchdowns on three consecutive drives spanning the end of the first half and the start of the third quarter. The streak ended when Saints safety Marcus Williams intercepted Watson's lofted pass down the sideline for William Fuller.

The Texans gave up four sacks on their next two possessions, leading to punts.

''We have to shore some things up,'' O'Brien said. ''They got us on a couple of blitzes. We did block them at times, but we have to block them more consistently and the ball has to come out a little quicker at times.''

Watt did not want to hear anything about the offense's shortcomings. Double-teamed constantly, the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year did not have a tackle or an assist for only the second time in his nine-year NFL career.

''It's very frustrating, but that's something you have to deal with when you're in the position I'm in,'' he said. ''You've got to find a way to get there, and tonight I didn't. I take that on me. We'll feel the emotions of this for 24 hours, then we'll move on to Jacksonville, but right now it does hurt.''

Player Notes
Antonio Callaway Jan 16 6:33pm ET

Free-agent WR Antonio Callaway (Browns) signed with the Tampa Bay Vipers of the XFL Thursday, Jan. 16.

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LeSean McCoy Jan 16 5:43pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: McCoy played just one offensive snap in last week's Divisional Round game against the Houston Texans. He's clearly behind RB Damien Williams and is no longer worth starting.

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Morris Claiborne Jan 16 5:43pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Moore (illness) and DT Chris Jones (calf) didn't participate in practice Thursday, Jan. 16. DT Khalen Saunders (knee), CB Morris Claiborne (shoulder), CB Kendall Fuller (knee), DE Tanoh Kpassagnon (neck), C Austin Reiter (wrist) and G Andrew Wylie (ankle) practiced in full.

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Marcedes Lewis Jan 16 5:33pm ET

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Travis Kelce Jan 16 5:33pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Kelce earned a light practice week while catching 10 of 12 targets for 134 yards and three touchdowns against the Houston Texans in the Divisional Round. He's the week's top tight end option once against this week so long as he takes the field.

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Logan Ryan Jan 16 5:33pm ET

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Geronimo Allison Jan 16 5:23pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: It's an upgrade for Allison after he missed Wednesday's practice. He's likely to be limited for much of the week but should ultimately suit up for Sunday, Jan. 19's NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers. He made just one catch for 11 yards last week against the Seattle Seahawks and isn't worth much more than a desperation flier.

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Jimmy Graham Jan 16 5:23pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: Graham has caught seven of 11 total targets across his last two games, recording 49 receiving yards in each game. He hasn't found the end zone since Week 7 and doesn't possess much touchdown upside, but the Packers have few better options in the passing game outside of WR Davante Adams. He could be a sneaky play at a thin position.

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Tevin Coleman Jan 16 5:13pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: It's Coleman's second straight full practice, and he should be good to go for the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Jan. 19. He's coming off one of his best games of the season, and he'll be worth starting once again in all formats.

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Raheem Mostert Jan 16 5:13pm ET

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Dee Ford Jan 16 5:13pm ET

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Fantasy Spin: While the talent remains alluring, it's become clear Brown is going to have to make some personal changes before he gets a chance to play again the league.

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George Kittle Jan 16 2:33pm ET

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Logan Ryan Jan 16 12:33pm ET

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George Kittle Jan 16 11:00am ET

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Fantasy Spin: This is pure speculation at this point, but Triplett lays out a compelling case for a contractual impasse. It's just something to file away and keep an eye on once the offseason kicks into high gear.

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