Wed Nov 20 4:03pm ET
By KRISTIE RIEKEN
AP Sports Writer
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson throws a pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Houston Texans tight end Darren Fells (87) taps quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) after Watson lost a fumble on a sack against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) pushes forward after a catch as Baltimore Ravens free safety Earl Thomas (29), cornerback Jimmy Smith (22) and middle linebacker Josh Bynes (57) try to stop him during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) prepares to throw during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
HOUSTON (AP) Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson learned from a high school coach that no matter how good or bad a game was, he had to move on to the next one quickly, or ''snap and clear,'' as his old coach used to say.
That mantra will be perhaps more important than usual this week as Watson and the Texans look to bounce back from an embarrassing loss to Baltimore when they host Indianapolis on Thursday night with the AFC South lead on the line.
''That was our theme all through my high school career where good or bad, you're always going on to the next play,'' Watson said. ''And OB (coach Bill O'Brien) always says you're only as good as your next game, you're only as good as your next play. So you've got to continue to have that mindset because you can never get too comfortable in this league.''
The Texans and Watson were anything but comfortable on Sunday when he was sacked six times and had two turnovers in a 41-7 dismantling by the Ravens.
The Colts are on the opposite end of the spectrum, entering this matchup of 6-4 teams after beating the Jaguars 33-13 last week. Like Watson, Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett is looking forward instead of dwelling on the last game - especially with the short week.
''Everybody on the team understands the quick turnaround we have,'' he said. ''Everybody understands that they're going through the same thing we're going through. I think as one of the leaders you don't have to make a huge production about it. You just go out there ... and understand the focus we need because we're not going to get the same practice reps we would during a regular week.''
Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins said he started looking ahead to Indianapolis in the fourth quarter against the Ravens when it was clear the game was out of reach. The Texans don't want to build up this game too much but know that losing to the Colts twice in one season would make it difficult to reach their goal of winning the division.
''It's a big game,'' Hopkins said. ''Some of the young guys have never been in this situation, but with me being here and being on this team for a while, I understand everything we want is still in front of us. So every game is big and important, but to me this is the biggest game of the year so far.''
Four-time Pro Bowl receiver T.Y. Hilton has missed three consecutive games with an injured calf.
Hilton anticipates his availability for Thursday will be a game-time decision but remains hopeful of being cleared to return to action. His return would give Indy a potentially gigantic boost. In 15 games against the Texans, he has 82 receptions, 1,519 yards and 10 TD catches.
''It's just if I can get back out there and help my team,'' he said. ''It has just been tough for me watching these last three games and I'm not accustomed to missing games.''
Houston defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is convinced that Hilton won't miss this one.
''He's going to play,'' Crennel said. ''He's probably counting on it, and I'm - well not necessarily counting on it or looking forward to it, but you've got to prepare for him to play because he'll show up.''
FIRST DOWN HOP
Hopkins is tied for second in the NFL with 47 receptions for first downs, and 62.7% of his catches this season have gone for first downs.
''That's such a valuable part of what he does is that he can, whether it's a third-down catch or a second-down catch that goes for a first down where you don't have to deal with third down, he does a great job of that,'' O'Brien said.
Hopkins takes great pride in his ability to move the chains, and Watson appreciates that quality in his star receiver.
''It makes my job a lot easier for sure,'' he said. ''A guy that can go out there and catch every ball, knows what we need, especially on third down, and a guy that finds ways to get open even if he's doubled ... put the ball in his area he's going to make sure he catches it.''
HOUSTON POSES PROBLEM
Defensive end Justin Houston has found a perfect fit in Indy.
The league's 2014 sack champion leads the Colts with eight sacks and has recorded sacks in six consecutive games for the third time in his career. His current streak is the longest in the NFL, and as the Colts' defense continues to improve, teammates and coaches believe Houston has made a huge impact beyond his pass-rushing presence.
''He's been good in the run game,'' coach Frank Reich said. ''We've said this multiple times, but it is really true - his leadership. As the year has progressed, he has become a more vocal leader. When he talks, people listen. When he talks, people listen for sure.''
Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers missed his first kick in four weeks when he missed an extra point in Seattle's Sunday night loss to the Rams. Myers' missed kick came after a pick-six by Quandre Diggs, and while it hurts to see any missed chances at points, Seattle's offense was so pitiful that the miss proved inconsequential. Myers has been money since his meltdown against the Bucs, and hopefully this will just be a minor blip. He did drill both field goals he attempted in the game, so maybe that'll help keep his confidence up and keep him focused.
Seattle Seahawks free safety Quandre Diggs continued to turn fans into believers by snagging a pair of interceptions, including a pick-six, in Seattle's loss to the Rams. Both of Diggs' interceptions came on back-to-back possessions, and he now has three interceptions, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in just four games. The Seahawks Defense certainly wasn't at its best on Sunday night, but with the offense doing it zero favors, it put up a pretty strong performance. Also of note, one-handed feel-good story Shaquem Griffin continues to be a revelation since he moved into a more pass-rushing role. He's given a huge boost to Seattle's pass rush as of late.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf was targeted six times on Sunday night, and he hauled in all six passes. That's the first time in his career that he's caught every pass thrown his way, and it further accentuates the growth he's had as a receiver this season. Unfortunately, Seattle lost the game and Metcalf was held without a touchdown, but improved catching is a wonderful bit of growth for the rookie. Metcalf now sits at 783 yards receiving on 50 catches, and he's been able to score five touchdowns. For a guy who was thought to just be a workout warrior, it's been quite the impressive rookie campaign.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett caught four passes for 43 yards on Sunday night against the Rams, but he's clearly still hampered by the combination of the serious shin contusion and flu. Lockett seemed to struggle to get open on critical downs, and Russell Wilson was forced to turn to less dependable options for some throws. Lockett's connection with Wilson is famous, so it's logical to conclude that the injury/illness are still affecting his play. It's unclear if the coaching staff will address it in any way or continue to run him out there, but the Seahawks will need him completely healthy if their offense is resume the high-flying act it was at the start of the year.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had a rough night on Sunday when he was one of many players on the team who struggled. Wilson took five sacks and failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season. The shellacking by the Rams came to a head on third downs when it felt like Wilson was bombarded by defensive lineman from the moment the ball was snapped. With Seattle moving to 10-3, the team will be trying to bounce back and officially punch their ticket to the playoffs when they face the Carolina Panthers next week. Hopefully, they can have more energy and focus in Charlotte than they had in LA.
Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson was able to rack up 91 scrimmage yards on Sunday night, but like the rest of the Seattle offense, he was unable to find the end zone. Carson was forced to pick up the slack after backfield-mate Rashaad Penny went down with a significant knee injury early in the first quarter, but offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer seemed uninterested in leaning on Seattle's run game. Carson only carried the ball 15 times, his second-fewest times in the last 10 games, even though he was averaging more than five yards per carry. Hopefully, the team will get back to giving him the rock next week when they head to Carolina.
Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny looks to be lost for the season after suffering a knee injury in Sunday night's loss to the Rams. Head coach Pete Carroll told the media that Penny sprained his ACL at the end of his first play of the night, and while the team doesn't know how serious it is just yet, Carroll ominously described it as "significant." Penny had just started to live up to his billing, stepping up huge in two straight games, but this injury will be yet another setback for the young running back. With Seattle almost guaranteed a playoff spot, perhaps there's a chance the youngster could come back for some postseason football, but it depends on what the team finds out in the next few days.
Los Angeles Chargers fullback Derek Watt is easily the least-known member of the trio of NFL brothers, but he got on the board on Sunday when he hauled in a one-yard touchdown against Jacksonville. Watt is one of a number of bruising fullbacks that have appeared in the league in the last couple years as the position has undergone a resurgence, but this was his first time being the man to haul the rock over the goal line. Watt them followed it up with a solid end zone celebration of a dog being let off its leash, and it's a sure thing that he had many a celebratory phone call with the family after the game.
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Michael Badgley knocked through the only field goal try he had all day, but it turned out that it wasn't much needed. The Chargers walloped the Jaguars for 45 points, topping their last two performances combined, and Badgley found himself drilling extra points all day instead of field goals. Badgley knocked six extra points through without incident, and his 40-yarder was no sweat either. Badgley has now made seven of his last eight kicks from within 50 yards, and he hasn't missed an extra point all season. He's not going for any records, but he's still been one of the best kickers in Chargers recent history.
Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa hadn't recorded a sack in over a month coming into Sunday, but he took care of that problem. Bosa dropped Gardner Minshew twice in his team's throttling of the Jags, and he also did a beautiful job of holding running back Leonard Fournette behind the line of scrimmage by his ankle on what could have been a big gainer. Bosa was a wrecking crew up front, regularly ending up around the ball, and the Chargers Defense dominated the Jaguars. They only allowed 10 points, and their offense took care of the rest. It was the smallest point total they held an opponent to since Week 4.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry was one of a host of players to catch touchdowns against the Jaguars on Sunday, and his was the easiest of the bunch. For some reason, Jacksonville completely lost track of Henry late in the second quarter, and he caught a pass from Philip Rivers where he was so wide open that no defenders were even on the screen on the broadcast. A couple small secondary members met him just before he reached the goal line, but Henry easily ran through the tiny would-be tacklers. The touchdown was Henry's fourth of the season, and he continues to be a very productive member of the offense when healthy.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Virgil Green got in on the action in the team's steamroll of the Jacksonville defense on Sunday. Green got the honor of putting the final nail in the coffin when he caught a wide-open touchdown pass from Tyrod Taylor early in the fourth quarter. It was Green's first regular season touchdown catch since the first week of October in 2018, though Green did haul one in during the team's playoff game against the Patriots last year. Green is much more well known for his blocking prowess, so this TD was a surprise gift to the ninth-year pro.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen caught five of his passes sent his way on Sunday, tallying up 83 yards in the team's massive win over the Jaguars. Allen snagged a quick pass over the middle and led defenders on a long foot race to rack up a 45-yard gainer at one point. His 83 yards was the most receiving yards he's recorded in a game in over two months, and while he was held out of the end zone once again, it was good just to see him break free on a couple of routes. The 45-yarder was also Allen's longest single catch this season. He'll have a tougher matchup next week when he faces the stout Vikings Defense, but he's only been held to less than five catches once in his last six games. He should find a way to get his.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams didn't see a lot of chances on Sunday, but he fought to make his couple of opportunities count. With the team already up by 21 points late in the third quarter, Williams' number got pulled when Philip Rivers lofted a deep ball to the end zone on a long third down. Williams snatched at the ball and tumbled to the ground with both arms securely hanging on to it. Only problem was that the Jacksonville defender had both his arms around it too. The officials ruled that the catch was good, and Williams had officially broken his touchdown drought with his first of the season. Williams' only complication is the assortment of weapons available to Rivers on his offense. Otherwise, Williams is everything a team could want in a star receiver.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Tyrod Taylor saw his first extended action on Sunday night as he was called upon to close out the thrashing the Chargers were delivering in Jacksonville. Taylor took full advantage, tossing his first touchdown of the year to tight end Virgil Green. Taylor completed three of five passes in his quarter of play, and he looked comfortable and relaxed in the pocket. Taylor has been in the news recently as a possible insert if Philip Rivers were to be benched for poor play, but Rivers has turned it around just in time. That said, Rivers is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of this season, so there's an outside chance Taylor could find himself in a starting role next year.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler stole the show in Jacksonville as he single-handedly routed the Jaguars Defense. Ekeler finished the night with 101 yards rushing on just eight carries and 112 yards receiving on four catches. He's the first player this season to rack up 100+ yards in both disciplines in the same game, and he made highlight reels across the country by gashing through the defense on every opportunity. His money moment came when he caught a pass at his own 14-yard line, two yards behind the line of scrimmage, and didn't stop running until he reached the opposite end zone, completely untouched along the way. Ekeler's playmaking ability is unmatched, even if he isn't officially the starter.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers celebrated his 38th birthday with some flair as he demolished the Jaguars. Rivers set a new personal best with an 84-yard touchdown pass (86 yards of which was provided by Austin Ekeler), and he finished with 314 yards on just 16 completed passes. Rivers has had more than his fair share of rocky performances this year, but he's also completed more than 65% of his passes and is on pace to have the third-most prolific season of his career, yards-wise. Rivers isn't a superstar anymore, but he's still not quite ready for the trash heap.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon wasn't the talk of the town after Sunday's game against the Jaguars, but he was still productive for fantasy owners. Gordon only touched the ball 17 times in the team's rout of Jacksonville, but it was enough to get him a touchdown. He combined for 84 total scrimmage yards, and he averaged more than 4.6 yards per carry on the ground. It wasn't a whole lot compared to Austin Ekeler's ridiculous performance as his counterpart, but Gordon still held up his end of the bargain. Expect a tougher time next week against Minnesota, but Gordon should still be one the key players in the game.
San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould knocked in two field goals and six extra points in Week 14 against the New Orleans Saints. The Niners offense was on fire with 48 points on Sunday and Gould benefited, punching in all his opportunities. Gould played the hero in the waning seconds with a walk-off 30-yard field goal to clinch the victory for the road Niners. Back from his lengthy quadriceps injury, Gould is a fine kicking option down the fantasy stretch.