FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Quarterback Deshaun Watson didn't hesitate when evaluating his performance in his return from a torn ACL after the Houston Texans' 27-20 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday.
"I think it was terrible on my part," Watson said. "I feel like you can put that all on me because I've [been] way better than what I showed today. My energy was low and I was just overthinking little things.
"I'm the leader of this team. I'm the leader of this offense, so as I go, the offense goes. And [there wasn't] enough energy or pace on our part."
Watson was playing in his first game since he tore the ACL in his right knee last season in an early November practice. When he got hurt, Watson was tied for the NFL lead with 19 passing touchdowns and had thrown for 1,699 passing yards with eight interceptions.
On Sunday, Watson couldn't pick up where he left off, and the Texans' offense got off to a slow start. Watson fumbled while trying to hand the ball off to running back Lamar Miller on the first play and the quarterback struggled to find a rhythm until late in the game.
Watson finished 17-of-34 passing for 176 yards, with a touchdown and an interception, but 115 of those yards came in the second half. The Texans were playing without wide receiver Will Fuller, who was inactive with a hamstring injury, but even so, Watson was unable to find DeAndre Hopkins early.
In the first half, Hopkins had two catches for 19 yards. He finished the game with eight catches for 78 yards, including one that set up the Texans' first touchdown of the game.
Watson wouldn't let the Texans' offensive line take the blame for his struggles --"I was just holding the ball too long," he said -- but the unit had a hard time protecting the young quarterback. Watson was sacked three times and the Patriots had 12 quarterback hits.
Watson was under duress on 23 of his 42 dropbacks (55 percent), according to ESPN Stats & Information. It was the highest pressure rate on any quarterback in the past two seasons. When pressured, Watson averaged only 3.8 yards per attempt and threw an interception.
Texans coach Bill O'Brien said the team didn't change anything at halftime and said the offense simple executed better in the second half.
"I just feel like you can put the L on me," Watson said. "I'll be way much better than what I showed today. My energy was low, overthinking little things. We just got to capitalize in the red zone. Don't turn the ball over."