There are few sports icons that transcend their sport and influence the world of sports as a whole. Michael Jordan is undeniably that sports icon over the last 40 years. No matter what it is, people love to compare others to Jordan if they are great.
This week, Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden compared Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson to Jordan. Gruden and his Raiders faced off against Watson in Week 8, and although they initially looked like the victors, Watson overpowered them to steal a come-from-behind win.
Despite appearing to lose sight in his left eye, Watson led his team to a 27-24 victory. Gruden said that Watson’s will to win was not unlike His Airness, via Vic Tafur of the Athletic:
Gruden said Deshaun Watson is “spectacular. He wills it out of his team. He makes something out of nothing … it’s like going against Michael Jordan.”
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) October 27, 2019
Watson’s eyesight was hindered after he took an inadvertent kick to the face during the fourth quarter. After breaking a number of tackles in addition to the kick, he was able to convert on a game-winning touchdown pass to tight end Darren Fells.
Watson did not seem so mighty for the entirety of the game. The Raiders’ defensive energy was palpable earlier in the day, especially due to the efforts of rookie defensive end Maxx Crosby. Additionally, Johnathan Hankins, Arden Key and Benson Mayowa each earned one sack apiece in the game.
This isn’t the first time that Watson has been compared to Jordan as his college head coach at Clemson, Dabo Swinney, also did so when he was entering the draft. Watson finished the evening with 279 yards and three touchdown passes, making big throw after big throw to prove why he is a superstar in this league.
The Raiders offense took some time to get things rolling. Houston has one of the worst passing defenses in the game, and with Josh Jacobs dealing with a shoulder injury, Derek Carr and the offense looked to pass more than run. Carr finished the game with 285 yards and three touchdowns, going tit for tat with Watson. Jacobs finished with just 66 yards on only 15 carries in the loss.