On first-and-goal, Deshaun Watson took the snap, handed the ball off to running back Duke Johnson, who then handed it off to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who was running a flat route toward the right sideline. As Hopkins got close to the sideline, he flipped the ball to Watson, who dove for the end zone and scored the touchdown.
Watch the play below:
According to Texans coach Bill O’Brien, the players designed the trickery. He told reporters after the game that Watson actually brought the play to him.
“They drew it up in the dirt,” O’Brien said (via The Athletic’s Aaron Reiss). “They brought it in, had it on a piece of notebook paper, handed it to me. We’ve been working on that for a while. It was all about timing.”
According to Reiss, Watson had gotten the idea from a similar trick play the Chicago Bears used. The Texans named the play “Houdini.”
Watson said the team had been working on it for four weeks. He credited Hopkins for selling the play and getting his first career passing touchdown.
“I knew I had to kind of tuck the ball, wait for [the defender] to commit, to throw it to Deshaun,” Hopkins said. “I knew once I threw it to him, he was going to be in.”
The Texans have won two straight, with their win over the Patriots marking their most meaningful win of the season. They face the Denver Broncos at home in Week 14.