Patriots See Will Fuller, Deshaun Watson For First Time

Brandon Scott
November 29, 2019 - 2:12 pm

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610) -- Will Fuller hasn’t lined up against the Patriots in the regular season since his rookie year in 2016. 

The speedy wide receiver was held out of the 2017 matchup because of a freak collarbone injury. 

Last season, Fuller missed the opener against New England with a hamstring injury, which is a lingering issue for him even now. 

Fuller played in Houston's playoff loss to New England two years ago, but Deshaun Watson had gone down with a season-ending injury at that point.

The Patriots have never faced Watson and Fuller at the same time.

Fuller returned against the Colts last Thursday after missing three games with a hamstring injury. He had 140 receiving yards on seven catches, including a 51-yard reception in the third quarter.

His ability to stretch the field will be important with one of the league’s best cornerbacks shadowing DeAndre Hopkins.

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Fuller’s route-running and pass catching has improved. He’s also built an impressive resume with quarterback Deshaun Watson when the two are on the field together.

In 19 game with Watson, Fuller has 14 touchdowns on 86 catches and 1,372 receiving yards, averaging 16 yards a catch. 

NFL Network analyst and former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest was on In The Loop earlier in the week (listen at 20:20 mark for McGinest interview) discussing Fuller’s impact.

“Getting Will Fuller back is night and day for this offense. To have that deep threat to take some of the pressure off DeAndre Hopkins, we saw more one-on-ones with him. Being able to run the football with Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson, I think they have a lot of weapons offensively, of course, Deshaun Watson.”

Here is more from McGinest when asked by John Lopez what the Patriots defense might try to take away from the Texans offensively:

"I think that’s what makes it tough now. And don’t forget about Deshaun Watson making those instinctive plays out of the pocket. So you’ve got to have somebody making sure he’s not running around or taking off and shadow him. 

But you’ve also got to make sure Will Fuller’s not running by everybody. He’s extremely fast. He takes the top off a defense. And then you’ve got Hopkins and you’ve got Stills. So you got guys that can step up and make plays. …

“Unlike before, it’s not just ‘Hey, we’ve got to stop DeAndre Hopkins. That’s the only guy we’ve got to stop. Now, they’ve got multiple weapons that you’ve got to account for.”

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