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Watson accounts for 5 TDs as Texans down Titans 57-14
By KRISTIE RIEKEN
HOUSTON (AP) After dealing with a revolving door at quarterback since he was drafted in 2013, Houston's DeAndre Hopkins couldn't hide his glee when asked what it felt like to be a part of the best offensive day in franchise history - thanks to another big game by rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson.
"It means a lot," Hopkins said Sunday after a 57-14 walloping of the Tennessee Titans. "You have to thank the organization for going out and moving up and getting a guy like Deshaun Watson. Taking that risk on moving up and trading draft picks to get a guy that they know can do this for this organization."
In his third NFL start, Watson threw for four touchdowns and ran for another as the Texans scored the most points in franchise history. Watson, the 12th pick in this year's draft, became the first rookie to throw four touchdown passes and run for another one since Fran Tarkenton in 1961 and tied an NFL record for most TDs by a rookie quarterback.
"Just growing with my confidence," Watson said. "Being able to operate and run this offense, making sure we're in the right plays and just bringing the energy and leadership to this team. And I try and do that each and every play, make sure we're in the right play and just kind of continue to grow from there."
The Texans (2-2) outdid their previous highest point total of 45 set in a victory over the Titans in 2014 and scored the most points in the NFL since Seattle scored 58 on Dec. 9, 2012 against Arizona.
The Texans rave about the confidence Watson brings to the huddle and believe his attitude is contagious.
"Just seeing your quarterback have that swagger and that demeanor to want to win and want to keep the ball going down the field, that gets everybody going," running back Lamar Miller said. "I know me and it makes me want to play even harder to get the win."
Houston's defense got things going when Andre Hal intercepted Marcus Mariota on the game's third play. It was the first of four interceptions for Houston's defense. Mariota, who became the first Titans quarterback with two rushing touchdowns in a game since Steve McNair in 2003, injured his hamstring and didn't play after halftime. Matt Cassel took over for the Titans (2-2) and threw for 21 yards with two interceptions.
Watson then led Houston's offense to touchdowns on three straight possessions for a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. It was the first time since Oct. 19, 2008 that Houston scored a touchdown on each of its first three possessions.
The first score came on a 2-yard run by Miller. Watson then found Hopkins on an 8-yard pass before connecting with Will Fuller on a 16-yarder.
"We didn't do a very good job of stopping them defensively, but their quarterback played extremely well," Tennessee coach Mike Mularkey said. "I was thoroughly impressed with him ... a number of times, we had him on the run and he escaped or made great throws. We've got to do a better job."
Mariota had touchdown runs of 34 and 2 yards in the second quarter sandwiched around a field goal by Houston to cut the lead to 24-14. But Watson's 1-yard touchdown scamper pushed Houston's lead to 30-14 at halftime after the kick failed.
Watson was 25 of 34 for 283 yards. Mariota threw for 96 yards and ran for 39 before he was injured.
Watson found Fuller again in the third quarter on a 10-yard strike to make it 37-14. His fourth TD throw came early in the fourth quarter on an 8-yard pass to Miller.
Ka'imi Fairbairn made a 40-yard field goal to extend the lead to 47-14.
Rookie Dylan Cole added to the lead when he returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown with about nine minutes remaining.
Hopkins finished with 10 receptions for 107 yards for his first 100-yard game this season and the 14th of his career.
Mularkey said they'll know more about Mariota's injury after he has an MRI on Monday. ... Houston receiver Tyler Ervin injured his knee in the first quarter and didn't return.
Houston's 445 yards were its most since 2014. ... The Texans' 33 first downs were the second most in franchise history. ... Houston's defense finished with five turnovers, its most since also getting five on Nov. 23, 2008 against Cleveland. ... The Texans tied a franchise record with four interceptions. It was the first time they'd had four in a game since Nov. 12, 2006 against Jacksonville.
Titans: Visit the Dolphins next Sunday.
Texans: Host the Chiefs on Sunday night.
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Updated October 1, 2017