The Jets will be put to the test on Saturday afternoon when they face Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson at MetLife -- the third mobile quarterback New York will face in as many weeks.
Sam Darnold and the Jets are riding high after snuffing Josh Allen and the Bills of a win with a last-minute comeback drive on Sunday in chilly Buffalo. New York can expect another tough game against Watson, a 23-year-old triple-threat making his mark in Houston.
Watson entered the NFL scene as the Texans' No. 12 overall pick in the 2017 draft. He faced adversity after a phenomenal start to his rookie season last year, passing for 1,699 yards in his first six games and tying for the NFL lead in passing touchdowns with 19.
After a 41-38 loss to the Seahawks, the Texans were preparing to turn the page in a tough battle against the Colts on Nov. 5, 2017 when Watson tore his ACL in Thursday practice. Watson underwent season-ending right knee surgery, and the Texans finished the remainder of the season going 1-8.
Fast forward to 2018, and the second-year quarterback is picking up right where he left off. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Watson has returned to throw 22 touchdowns and run for 410 yards with two more scores for the 9-4 Texans. Watson's unique ability to combine speed and agility is fascinating fans and athletes alike -- New York's rookie quarterback being no exception.
"Deshaun is a heck of a player," Darnold told reporters this week. "He played really well last year ... Everyone kind of questioned if he was going to be healthy enough to play and play as well as he did last year, and I think he's living up to it. I'm excited to go up against him and that tough Texans defense."
Across 20 NFL games, Watson has thrown for 4,997 yards, 41 touchdowns and 17 interceptions and rushed for 679 yards and four touchdowns. He possesses the skill set to depend on his legs to get the job done while accurately passing to his army of receivers in DeAndre Hopkins, Demaryius Thomas and running back Lamar Miller.
Amidst all the menacing details about Watson, Jets fans can find delight in the quarterback's tendency to wait in the pocket. Watson has been sacked 46 times this season, second-most in the league behind Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott (48).
"He can beat you in the pocket and out of the pocket," head coach Todd Bowles said. "He's a gamer. You speed him up, he's going to hurt you with his legs, and he can hurt you running out of the pocket. If you don't speed him up, he's going to sit in the pocket and throw dimes on you."