Deshaun Watson had a pair of go-ahead touchdown passes in the first half and threw for two more scores in the fourth quarter to help the Houston Texans pull away and beat the Detroit Lions 41-25 on Thursday.
Texans defensive end JJ Watt had an early pick-six and Will Fuller had six receptions for 171 yards and two touchdowns for the Texans (4-7), who have won two straight for the first time this season and three of their past four games with interim coach Romeo Crennel.
Detroit (4-7) may end the season with interim leaders after losing consecutive games for the third time this season, dropping coach Matt Patricia’s record to 13-29-1 and general manager Bob Quinn’s mark to 12 games under .500 over five seasons.
The Lions retained Patricia and Quinn for this season and ownership said there was an expectation they contend for the playoffs by playing in meaningful games in December. That seems highly unlikely.
Detroit scored first before collapsing with turnovers on two straight snaps and three consecutive possessions in the first-half against a defense that entered the game with an NFL-low five forced turnovers.
Watt put his hands up on a rush just in time to pick off Matthew Stafford’s pass and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. On Detroit’s next snap, Jonathan Williams fumbled and Houston took advantage with Watson’s two-yard touchdown pass to CJ Prosise to go ahead 13-6. Watson’s 33-yard touchdown pass to Duke Johnson gave the Texans a 20-14 lead early in the second quarter.
Watson hit Fuller in stride for a 40-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth, putting Houston ahead 34-17. Watson connected with Fuller, who was wide open, with a 34-yard touchdown on a trick play after handing the ball off and getting it back on a lateral. The dynamic quarterback finished 17 of 25 for 318 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He has thrown 15 touchdown passes without getting picked off once in the past six games.
Stafford was 28 of 42 for 295 yards with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu in the fourth and an interception that Watt returned for a score. Adrian Peterson had a pair of one-yard touchdown runs in the first half for the Lions.