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Murphy: Deshaun Watson's stunning performance against Falcons indicative of his meteoric rise among top NFL QBs
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, who played for Gainesville High School, sets to throw against the Atlanta Falcons during a game in Houston. - photo by Associated Press

Deshaun Watson was perfect. 

That’s not my opinion, but the refined calculation of the passer rating that factors in pass attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns and interceptions. On a scale of 0 to 158.3, the Houston Texans’ quarterback and Gainesville High graduate graded the highest possible as he dismantled the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. 

How’s this for a stat: Watson had as many touchdown throws (5) as he did incomplete passes, with a career-high 426 yards. Just imagine how unbelievable that is with 11 players on the other side of the ball who are all good enough to play at the highest level trying to disrupt his plans.

In the process of his best day in his three-year pro career, Watson also made NFL history by becoming the first quarterback in league history to throw for more than 400 yards and five touchdowns with five or fewer incompletions. 

Good, gracious. 

It sure is nice to claim Deshaun as one of our own here in Hall County. 

You couldn’t find a better ambassador. 

Overshadowing the fact the Atlanta played like a bottom feeder in the NFC, was the fact that Watson has grasped the spotlight of best young quarterback in the NFL (not named Patrick Mahomes). 

He throws ropes to all of his wide receivers, scrambles for running yards when the pass coverage is adequate (which it never was by the Falcons) and plays Houdini by escaping defenders when the pocket collapses to avoid negative plays. 

On Sunday, Watson steered four touchdown drives that stretched the majority of the field against a confused and overmatched Falcons defense. In the first half, Watson twice escaped what would have been a sack on any other quarterback by dancing, ducking, spinning and getting rid of the ball. 

The final score of 53-32 was indicative of how dominant Watson was with his supporting cast in Houston. 

Watson doesn’t have the best pass protection in the league, but has shown signs of getting much better. With the addition of Laramy Tunsil at left tackle, the former Red Elephants state championship winning quarterback has one less worry when he drops back in the pocket, scanning for an open receiver. 

His blindside is well protected.

Watson tied a career best with five touchdowns, three going to Will Fuller V. However, his most impressive — in my eyes — was when he put a perfect touch on a red-zone score that was thrown high enough where only his 6-foot, 7-inch tight end Darren Fells could catch the ball at the end of the third period. 

This 88-yard drive was capped by a slew of plays where Deshaun was just being Deshaun. The score was set up by a 32-yard drive to Fuller and 29-yard throw on a dime to Deandre Hopkins. 

All throws only QB1 could make. 

Once Atlanta knocked Houston’s lead down to 8 late in the fourth quarter, Watson put together another two-minute scoring drive, capped by his 44-yard strike to Fuller for six points. 

Tayshaun Gipson’s 77-yard pick-six was just an embarrassing end to a terrible day for the Falcons. 

But we’re not here to dissect the problems with the team in Flowery Branch. 

This is all about Watson’s masterpiece, made even more special before the game when his mother, Deann, was on the field to greet Deshaun when he ran out of the tunnel. 

Since 1950, Watson became only the third quarterback to throw for at least 400 yards and five touchdowns, while compiling a perfect 158.3 rating.

The list of accolades will continue to grow for Deshaun. 

Just keep watching.

Bill Murphy is sports editor of The Times. He can be reached at or email or on Twitter @Bill_Murphy313.

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