DETROIT — 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 Thursday.
Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt had an early pick-6 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) might 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.
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 2-yard touchdown pass to former Seahawk C.J. 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 also 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.
Watson finished 17 of 25 for 318 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Stafford was 28 of 42 for 295 yards. Adrian Peterson had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs in the first half for the Lions.
Cougs win opener
PULLMAN — Isaac Bonton scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half to rally Washington State past Texas Southern for a 56-52 win in the season opener for both teams on Wednesday night.
Bonton scored 16 points during the Cougars’ 19-3 run to take a 50-42 lead with 5:15 left in the game.
Texas Southern answered with with eight straight points to tie it at 50 and tied it again at 52 with 1:01 left in the game.
Aljaž Kunc made a pair of free throws that gave the Cougars a 54-52 lead with 28 seconds left, and Bonton made two more foul shots for Washington State to cap the scoring with 10 seconds to go.
Kunc added 11 points and Efe Abogidi in his college debut had nine points and eight rebounds for Washington State with nine points and six rebounds in the first half.
Texas A&M transfer John Walker III, Galen Alexander and Michael Weathers each scored 10 for Texas Southern.
About four hours before tipoff, Washington State announced on Twitter that coach Kyle Smith, who previously tested positive for COVID-19, had completed his 10-day isolation period and would be on the bench for the game.