HOUSTON (AP) - Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans got their third straight win on Sunday.
But it came with a price as the already-banged up quarterback took 19 more hits in the 20-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills.
Watson was sacked seven times and took 12 other hits from the Bills. The second-year player, questionable this week with a chest injury, was slow to get up several times and didn’t seem to be moving as well as he normally does.
Houston coach Bill O’Brien was asked about the performance of the offensive line and what the group can do to improve.
“I don’t know, I really don’t,” he said. “I think we’ve got to go back and figure it out … it starts with me. So, we just have to keep grinding to figure it out, figure out how to get better.”
Watson brushed off questions about his health, saying he didn’t “want to make any excuses,” but his teammates acknowledged the injury and said it made them want to do more to help him.
“When you’ve got a guy that sacrifices everything when he’s hurt, everybody around him better do the same thing, especially if it’s your quarterback,” defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said. “I think everybody put that on their shoulders this week and just tried to give it all up for him.”
Watson was 15 of 25 for 177 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also lost a fumble. He’s been sacked 25 times this season and taken 66 other hits behind a line that was supposed to be improved this year.
O’Brien was certainly happy with the win, but knows his team must improve on offense if it hopes to compete with Jacksonville next week.
“We’re not going to be able to be where we want to be unless we figure this thing out on offense,” he said. “And figure out what we have to be to be able to run the ball, throw the ball consistently.”
Some things to know about Houston’s win over Buffalo.
Buffalo rookie quarterback Josh Allen’s status for next week is uncertain after he left Sunday’s game with an elbow injury. Coach Sean McDermott said after the loss that the Bills were still evaluating Allen’s injury and he didn’t have any more details on it. Allen did not speak to the media.
Allen was injured when Houston’s Whitney Mercilus hit his right elbow with his helmet after Allen’s pass.
Allen threw for 84 yards and ran for 20 before being replaced by Nathan Peterman. Peterman threw for 61 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, including one that was returned 28 yards by Johnathan Joseph for a touchdown that put the Texans on top with 1:23 remaining.
Kareem Jackson intercepted him after that to seal Houston’s win.
Houston’s Jadeveon Clowney dragged running back Chris Ivory down by one of his long dreadlocks for a 3-yard loss early in the fourth quarter. The cringe-worthy play made Ivory’s head snap back as Clowney clutched his hair for the tackle.
“I was supposed to set that edge, but I took it inside,” Clowney said. “And if I go inside coach said: ‘You better make that tackle.’ So, I was trying to do whatever it takes to make that tackle. I tried to reach out and grab for his jersey and I pulled him by the hair.”
Clowney said Ivory approached him after the play to ask him about it.
“He said: ‘Come on man, why did you pull my hair?’ and I said: ‘Come on man, why you trying to run from me,’” Clowney said.
Clowney, who also has long dreadlocks, knows that being tackled like that had to hurt badly.
“I’ve been pulled by my hair a few times,” he said. “They made it part of the uniform and if I can reach for him again I would.”
THE “OLD GUYS
Joseph is 34 and Jackson is 30, leading the young players on Houston’s defense to joke that the “old men” were the stars of Sunday’s game.
“I’m cool with that,” Jackson said. “They can call us old all they want as long as we’re going out there and flying around.”
The two players are ranked first and second in career interceptions in franchise history.
Joseph took the lead with his 15th interception with the Texans on his touchdown return on Sunday, but Jackson regained the franchise lead when he grabbed his 16th one less than a minute after that.
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