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Keke Coutee makes history in NFL debut

The plan for Keke Coutee in his NFL debut was very simple, according to Deshaun Watson.

“Just get him going,” the quarterback said of the rookie receiver, following a 37-34 overtime win at Indianapolis.

And off Coutee went.

With 11 catches for 109 yards, Coutee had the most receptions in a debut since the AFL-NFL merger. In NFL history, only the Oilers’ Sid Blanks had more, when caught 13 passes in his first game of 1964.

“It was surprising,” Coutee said. “I feel like I did pretty good, but there’s a lot of things I have to correct, and that’s what we’re going to do, moving forward.”

Coutee was in for the Texans on the very first series, and caught a short pass for a five yard gain. But a drop on 3rd-and-20 at the Colts’ 49 didn’t discourage him. He said adrenaline played a bit of a role in the miscue.

“It was pumping for sure,” Coutee said. “I had that early drop, and that was just a sign of me getting ready to go and not looking the ball in. I was pretty excited to be out there.”

He’d finish the first half with three grabs for 28 yards.

In the second half and overtime, though, Coutee made a slew of plays to help the offense move the ball.

“It’s big just to be able to get this victory with all my teammates,” Coutee said. “Great team win, but we’re going to move on.”

His head coach saw a lot of good things from the rookie, but also is confident Coutee can do more.

“He did a nice job,” Bill O’Brien said. “It was his first game and he’s got a lot to learn. There were some plays there that he needs to do a better job on, or he would’ve had a bigger day.”

Veteran receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who finished with 10 catches for 169 yards, also said there are bigger and better things in the rookie’s future.

“Keke’s a guy that spends a lot of time in practice, the film room, trying to get better,” Hopkins said. “He knows he has some things he needs to work on. But he came up big for us at the end.”

Big indeed, as Coutee also shattered Andre Johnson’s franchise record of six catches in a rookie debut.

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