The Houston Texans head into their bye week with a share of the AFC South lead and the most impressive rookie quarterback in the NFL.
On Sunday, Deshaun Watson led the Texans to a steamrolling win, pasting the Cleveland Browns 33-17. The first-year signal-caller marveled, going 17-of-29 passing, for 225 yards, three TD tosses and a 103.4 passer rating.
In just five starts, Watson is on pace to slam his name in the record books.
The rookie leads the NFL with 15 touchdown passes despite not starting in Week 1. Those 15 TD tosses tied the most through six career games since the 1970 NFL merger with Kurt Warner and Mark Rypien.
In the past three games, Watson has been unstoppable. He's accounted for 13 total touchdowns over that span (12 passing, 1 rushing), the most by a rookie in a three-game span since the merger, per NFL Research. The Texans' QB is the first rookie in NFL history with three straight games with 3-plus TD passes (the only other quarterback to do so this season was Aaron Rodgers).
Watson's teammates don't seem surprised by the play the rookie has put on tape thus far.
"From training camp when he came in and the way he handled himself in the film room, even when in training camp he wasn't getting reps with the ones, he was still learning," Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins said, via ESPN.com. "He was still going over things, talking about it to us when he got the opportunity, and it's presented itself.
"Nobody in this locker room is honestly surprised with the way he's developed so far."
When compared to the cavalcade of quarterbacks Bill O'Brien has waltzed through Houston, Watson's performance is even more impressive. Watson has already outplayed Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Hoyer, Case Keenum, Ryan Mallett, Brock Osweiler, Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden.
Texans starting QBs in Bill O'Brien era (2014):
Watson: 62.0 completion percentage; 239.0 passing yards per game; 14-4 TD-INT ratio; 107.4 passer rating.
All other QBs: 59.1 completion percentage; 194.2 passing yards per game; 56-39 TD-INT ratio; 79.5 passer rating.
In just six weeks, Watson climbed ahead of Ryan Mallett for ninth place on the list of Texans all-time passing leaders. If the rookie continues his current pace (239 yards passing in starts), he'll leap Sage Rosenfels for third-most passing yards in franchise history before the end of the season.
I'm not sure whether those two previous sentences are impressive or depressing.
There will still be ups and downs for Watson, as there are with every rookie quarterback. The difference in Houston this year, however, is the belief that finally (FINALLY) the Texans have found that elusive franchise signal-caller.
"Every time we step on the field, we want to score," Hopkins said. "If we don't, then we're disappointed. We don't settle for three.
"We know with the ball in No. 4's [Watson] hands, anything is possible."