Not long after he walked off the field following the Texans 21-7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Deshaun Watson was already looking ahead.
"Man, it was tough," Watson said. "But I'm not going to walk off that field with my head down. I'm going to keep my chin up, keep my heart light and warm. Just make sure I remember this moment, go to work this offseason. God willing, I'll have another opportunity next year."
Watson had not lost a game by more than one score since his sophomore year in high school. His playoff debut in Saturday's AFC Wild Card game may have snapped that streak, but it didn't break Watson's spirit.
"This season was a lot of ups and downs," Watson said. "We came through a lot of adversity. Started off 0-3, made a run, clinched the division, had an opportunity for this playoff run. It didn't end the way we wanted it to end, but at the end of the day looking at the full season, you should have some smiles, some more positivity than a lot of negative stuff looking back at the season. The organization, in the future, it's bright for the future. Hopefully I'm a part of it, for sure, for a long time."
Head coach Bill O'Brien agrees.
The Texans know they have a franchise quarterback in Watson, who spent last offseason recovering from ACL surgery. In 2018, he started all 16 games and led on a franchise-best nine-game winning streak to finish with an 11-5 record and an AFC South title.
"I don't think he has a ceiling," O'Brien said. "I think we've got to get together, work to figure out how to get him to the next level, because there is a next level. But I know we have the right guy. We've got a guy that's a dynamic player that loves to be in critical situations and loves to have the ball in his hands."
In his playoff debut, Watson was 29-of-49 for 235 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He ran for a team-high 76 yards on eight attempts, averaging 9.5 yards per carry. It was the most rushing yards in a single game in his career (regular season and postseason) while setting a franchise record for most postseason rushing yards by a quarterback. Watson joined Donovan McNabb and Colin Kaepernick as the only quarterbacks to throw for at least 200 yards and rush for 75 yards in a postseason game since 2000.
The Houston Texans took on the Indianapolis Colts for the 2018-2019 Wildcard Game.