The Cleveland Browns came into the contest with Houston, the space capital, with a one-game win streak plus a new quarterback. Maybe this meant a new outlook and hope for the remainder of this 2022 season.
Cleveland held the Number 12 seed which is five slots out of the playoff picture. A win over the Texans and some help from other AFC teams had the ability to raise that seed number. Is it possible for the Browns to make the post-season if they win out?
The end of this year began with Houston, Watson’s old team.
In the end, the Browns could not move the ball on offense and relied on their defense and special teams to score points en route to a 27-14 win. If you had the Browns as your fantasy team’s defense, you racked up today.
So who played well for the Browns? Who didn’t?
LB Tony Fields - With Deshaun Watson’s debut, it wasn’t offensive fireworks that won the game, but a special teams ace that had his share of the highlight reel. Since MLB Anthony Walker was hurt earlier in the season, Fields has been given more and more defensive snaps each game. Against the Texans, with 9:30 remaining in the game, DE Chase Winovich batted away a pass that went directly into Fields’ hands to which he took it to the house. Four minutes later on Houston’s next possession, Fields recovered a fumble. With 3:07 to go in the game, Texans RB Dameon Pierce ran free when Fields planted him for a minimal gain. Fields was also in the mix when the Texans fumbled inside their own five to which Denzel Ward then did a scoop and score.
S John Johnson - The game began with a heads-up play by Johnson when he intercepted the ball off a tip by its intended receiver TE Teagan Quitoriano. Johnson made a terrific play on a sweep by Pierce when he read the run then shot the gap to nail the running back for no gain. Had a very good pass breakup in the third quarter.
Third down defense - Houston went 1-7 in the first half and 1-11 for the game.
LB Sione Takitaki - Was around the ball all game and has become a very good coverage linebacker. Left the field with an undisclosed injury. Led all tacklers with nine.
P Corey Bojorquez - Every week this guy does something significant and the Texans’ game was no exception. Boomed the kick after the safety to inside the five-yard line. Had six punts for a 51.8 average with four dropped inside the 20. With 10:38 left in the third quarter, his punt went out at the one which eventually became the Denzel Ward fumble recovery for a touchdown. What a weapon Bojo has been this year.
K Cade York - Maybe the rookie has regained his mojo as he converted both field goal attempts. The majority of his kickoffs are landing at the minus-6 mark.
Fourth down shut down - The Texans went for their lone fourth down attempt early in the second quarter where S Grant Delpit was able to penetrate and nail QB Kyle Allen.
WR Donovan Peoples-Jones - Had an early catch for 27 yards which appeared to be how the entire passing game would be. His 76-yard stumbling, bumbling punt return for a touchdown midway through the second quarter put Cleveland ahead 7-5 and electrified the crowd. With just over seven minutes left in the game, DPJ went back for another punt and angled over as the ball hit on the other side of the field and then rolled harmlessly into the end zone for a touchback instead of bad field position.
QB Deshaun Watson - After the game, the field was covered in this dull, brownish metal shavings as Watson tried to dust off the rust from not playing for 22 months. The end result was a horrible showing. Watson had five throws to open receivers that were in the dirt and uncatchable. Two others were tossed down low to which Kareem Hunt grabbed one on an exceptional grab. What was supposed to be a fireworks display from the three-time Pro Bowl QB ended up more like some bacon sizzle instead.
No long runs, no on-target bombs, no, well....nothing. Had just 90 yards passing midway through the third quarter. On the interception, his target was double covered and the defender, Jalen Pitre, barely even moved before the pass came straight to him. The lone sack was the QB not getting out fast enough or seeing that his safety valve Hunt was wide open in the right flats. Facing a key third-and-six halfway through the fourth quarter, Watson tossed the pass deep into the end zone where only rust particles had accumulated but no warm bodies. With 31 ticks left in the third quarter, Demetric Felton was wide open on the left side except Watson turfed it instead. Finished with 12 completions on 22 attempts for 131 yards and an interception with a QB Rating of 53.4. Horrible debut.
Offense - The Browns were playing one of the worst run defenses in the league and yet had constant struggles running the ball. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt had just one really good run each. And the ultra-scrambling abilities of Watson were supposed to be this triple rushing threat yet Watson had just one good run. The passing game was almost non-existent. Donovan Peoples-Jones was the best receiver and netted a paltry 44 yards of which 27 occurred early in the contest.
Anthony Schwartz gave up a fumble on one offensive possession. After the Watson interception into the end zone in the first quarter, Cleveland’s offense did not cross the 50-yard line until 14:01 left in the game. Chubb and Hunt were stuffed on numerous runs. How is this for first-half possessions: punt, fumble, interception, safety, punt, punt, end of the half. One 11 plays or more drive the entire game. Is this the same offense from last week? Was difficult to see the sideline shots of Watson and Jacoby Brissett sitting on the bench together and wondering when Brissett was going to come in and move this offense. Two field goals was the offense’s contribution to the outcome.
Third down conversions - With a stagnant offensive effort, converting third downs was an issue. The Browns converted just three of 12 all game which resulted in six punts. Ouch.
WR Anthony Schwartz - All that World Class speed is useless if on your first catch you fumble the ball. Missed a tackle on a punt return with 32 seconds left in the first half.
Play calling - Best running duo in the league against one of the worst run defenses and yet few runs all game, Houston committed four turnovers yet the offense sputtered on all but three drives. Plays called leading up to the two field goals were for long passes when only six yards were needed. A very puzzling day.
Milk Bones – When your spouse tells you to choose between he/she or the Browns, and you realize how much you miss he/she
CB Denzel Ward - For some reason, Ward just cannot wrap up anymore. He missed two tackles including with 12 seconds to go in the first quarter when WR Nico Collins caught a short pass to which Ward then whiffed as Collins made a first down. Ward scored the fumble recovery touchdown midway through the third stanza which changed the complexity of the game.
DE Chase Winovich - Made several good plays in his first game back. On his batted pass that led to the Fields' interception for a score, QB Allen pumped the throw first to which Winovich jumped up. But when Allen reloaded and actually threw the ball, Winovich was able to regain his jump and batted the ball upwards.
CB Greedy Williams - Someone please teach this guy how to tackle the man instead of trying to rip out every completed catch that is made to his side. With 2:16 left in the game, WR Chris Moore made the catch as Williams immediately grabbed Moore’s arms and hands. As his gripe was dislodged, instead of an attempt to bring his man down, Williams simply gave up and Moore gained a first down. The very next play Houston scored a touchdown.
DT Perrion Winfrey - There were some running plays where Winfrey was moved off the hole, but often he had gap integrity and made plays. Finished with six tackles.
What is your opinion of Deshaun Watson’s first game as a Brown?
This poll is closed
Brissett was better