The Houston Texans may have found their offensive identity as Deshaun Watson continues to play some of his best football.
Watson is averaging a 70.2 percent completion rate since Week 5 and hasn't thrown an interception in three consecutive games. When asked what he's done to play at this level, Watson rattled off a number of reasons why he believes the offense has been clicking.
"Just really protect the ball, try to stay ahead of the chains, take what the defense is giving me, not try to force throws," Watson said. "I feel like I can do a little bit better continuing to connect down the deep balls. I've been connecting a little bit more than early on in the year but continuing to connect on those deep balls. Continuing to take what the defense is giving me, but just be that quarterback, be that general leading the charge down the field."
Watson's deep connections have increased as his chemistry with wide receivers like Brandin Cooks has improved. Since Week 5, Cooks has put up 372 receiving yards and scored three touchdowns, including a 57-yard touchdown on Houston's opening drive in Week 9.
Through the first four games of the season, Cooks had just 10 catches and no touchdowns.
"I think at the end of the day, it's just time, time spent with one another, you know, having no off season," Cooks said. "I'm not surprised the beginning of the season was like it was. But to be able to consistently practice together, get some games under our belt, I'm not too surprised that we're connecting more and more."
The Texans offense currently ranks second in the NFL in passing yards per play (8.26) and fifth overall with 6.20 yards per play. Much of that is also due to the availability and consistency of Will Fuller V. Through eight starts this year, Fuller has scored a touchdown in six consecutive games, including a career-long (for him and Watson) on a 77-yard touchdown at Jacksonville on Sunday. His 16.4 yards per catch average is currently the third longest in the AFC.
"He's always been valuable," Watson said. "He's a guy that's very explosive. He can make a lot of big time plays, can run routes, can block, can do everything. As long as he's healthy and he's on that field, he gives himself, but the whole team a great chance to win the ball game and make big plays."
Through eight games this season, Watson has thrown 17 touchdowns, five interceptions and has an average 108.7 passer rating. He ranks third in the NFL in completions of 20-or-more yards (30).
The Texans will travel to Cleveland to face the (5-3) Browns on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 12 noon CT on FOX and SportsRadio 610.