1a. We all know about Pete Carroll's now 8-1 record against rookie passers at home, but Deshaun Watson is a different creation entirely. The first-year Texans quarterback showed no fear on Sunday, drawing first blood with a beautifully thrown 59-yard strike to Will Fuller, the first opening-quarter touchdown given up by Seattle all season. Watson's fast start took a hit when All-Pro safety Earl Thomas instinctively jumped a route one drive later for a 70-yard pick six, but Watson shook off the turnover to pile up 402 yards passing with four touchdowns on the day. The rookie also lobbed a pair of second-half picks to Richard Sherman, but I love how Watson shrugs off these occasional setbacks.
1b. Seahawks ticket-holders have enjoyed outstanding defense at home for ages, making Sunday's performance by the Texans all the more fascinating. Midway through the second quarter, Houston had outgained Seattle 246 yards to 77 with 14 first downs to merely four for the 'Hawks. The explosive nature of this attack is legitimate, with Watson fearlessly testing the Legion of Boom with deep shots and patiently using his feet to move the chains. The Texans rookie showed full command, especially during a juicy fourth-quarter touchdown drive that saw him spin away from pressure to find Lamar Miller in the end zone to put the Texans up 31-27. Watson is a rainmaker.
- The brilliant Russell Wilson offered tricks of his own during a game capped by a signature come-from-behind drive by the Seahawks star quarterback. After throwing a killer pick with 5:37 remaining and Houston up 38-34, Wilson authored a marvelous three-play, 80-yard touchdown drive capped by his 18-yard scoring strike to tight end Jimmy Graham to put the game away. It was another reminder of Wilson's unique, magical abilities. The veteran unfurled a catalog of sensational throws against Houston's wanting secondary, tossing a pair of scoring bullets to Paul Richardson and a 53-yard bomb to receiver Tanner McEvoy during a game that saw both teams combine for 79 points, 988 yards and five lead changes. Wilson's efforts are even more impressive as he's doing this for an offense utterly bereft of a ground game.
- Everything has been written about DeAndre Hopkins, but the Texans wideout showed again on Sunday how he can hang with any cover man in the league. Hopkins finished with 224 yards off eight receptions and made one of the toughest catches you'll see all year, pausing his body mid-stride to shift, fall backwards and catch a pass from Watson behind a twisting Richard Sherman. Hopkins then took the game in his own hands with a blazing 72-yard touchdown from Watson that put the Texans up 38-34 with four-plus minutes to play. His handiwork was nearly overshadowed, though, by Fuller's two-touchdown romp, giving the deep threat an NFL-leading seven scores off just 13 catches this season:
- Seattle's ground game was suspect, with Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls and J.D. McKissic combining for minus yardage with less than seven minutes left in the game. Finishing with just 33 yards at 1.6 yards per pop, Seattle's flat-lining running attack better turn it around in a hurry for any chance of a deep playoff run.