In a 42-34 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago, DeShaun Watson of the Houston Texans threw five touchdown passes without an interception, becoming the third rookie quarterback in NFL history to accomplish such a feat, joined Chicago’s Ray Buivid (1937) and Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston (2015). Stellar as it was, the production might not have been the former Clemson star’s best effort of the season.
In a 57-14 week 4 victory over Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans, Watson had four touchdown passes and ran for a fifth, becoming the first rookie to do so since Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton of the Minnesota Vikings in 1961. The 57 points was franchise single-game record.
“He can really throw the football,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said after that game. “He’s a very accurate passer. He’s got big hands. He can really sling it. He’s a very smart runner. Running is not all about speed. It’s about instincts and understanding how plays are being blocked and understanding the defense that you’re seeing, to kind of weave your way through.”
Primarily responsible for Clemson knocking off No. 1-ranked Alabama for the national championship in January, Watson has six pro starts. The other four pale only in comparison to the two mentioned. He’s thrown multiple TDs four times, including three last week in a 33-17 win over the Cleveland Browns. Watson is completing 61.5 percent of his throws.
When Watson faces the Seahawks Sunday at CenturyLink Field (1:05 p.m., CBS), he will do so having tossed 15 touchdown passes against five interceptions with a 101.1 passer rating (he is also Houston’s third-leading rusher with 202 yards and two TDs).
Note on which to masticate: Since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, no rookie quarterback has thrown so many TD passes in his first six games.
Peyton Manning (1998) and Russell Wilson (2012) share the single-season record for most TD passes by a rookie quarterback with 26 each, a mark Watson seems certain to crush in a matter of weeks. In 1998, Manning had six TD passes through his first six games, Wilson eight in 2012. Most by a rookie QB through six:
|2017||Deshaun Watson||Texans||15||5 TDs, 0 picks, 119.8 rate vs. KC|
|1983||Dan Marino||Dolphins||13||Threw multiple TDs 5 times in 6 games|
|1969||Greg Cook||Bengals||12||4 TDs, 0 picks, 141.3 rate vs. Houston|
|2015||Marcus Mariota||Titans||9||158.3 rating in first game (vs. TB)|
|2004||Ben Roethlisberger||Steelers||9||4 100.0+ ratings in first six|
|2015||Jameis Winston||Bucs||9||2 TDs, 0 picks, 128.1 rate vs. Wash|
|2012||Russell Wilson||Seahawks||8||3 TDs, 0 INTs, 133.7 rate vs. Patriots|
While Wilson did not throw five TDs without an INT as a rookie, he’s had two such games since (both in 2015). Sunday, in a 24-7 win over the New York Giants, he posted his 30th career game of multiple touchdown passes without an interception.
That includes 15 such contests with three TDs and no picks. No quarterback has posted more multiple-TD games without a pick than Wilson through the first six seasons of a career:
|2012-17||Russell Wilson||Seahawks||30||5 TDs, 345 yards vs. Pitt, 2015|
|2008-13||Matt Ryan||Falcons||23||4 TDs, 142.6 rate vs. Det 2012|
|2011-16||Andy Dalton||Bengals||23||4 TDs, 136.1 rate vs. Min 2013|
|1999-03||Jeff Garcia||49ers||21||4 TDs, 149.3 rate vs. NO, 2002|
|2001-05||Tom Brady||Patriots||21||4 TDs, 143.9 rate vs. NO 2001|
|2006-09||Phillip Rivers||Chargers||20||4 TDs, 137.6 rate vs. TB 2008|
|2012-16||Andrew Luck||Colts||20||4 TDs, 140.4 rate vs. Jax 2009|
Most times three or more TDs and no picks in a game, first six seasons: Wilson 15, Daunte Culpepper 11, Brady 11, Ryan 11, Carr, Dalton, Aaron Rodgers, all 10.