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Deshaun Watson Rusty in First Game as Browns QB, but Flashes of Brilliance Shows Hope for Future

USA Today

700 days.

That is the amount of days passed in-between the last starts for Deshaun Watson, and No. 4 looked like he hadn't played in almost two years in his first start suiting up with the Cleveland Browns vs his former team in the Houston Texans Sunday.

Watson's final stat line from the Browns 27-14 win over the Texans was about what you would expect from a quarterback who took his first snaps in a live game scenario since January 3rd, 2021: 12/22, 131 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.

The new head signal caller for the Orange and Brown still showed glimpses of the superstar he is and is going to be for The Land soon and far into the future in my estimation. Even if his passes were mostly low and off the mark, his ability to use his legs to create first downs and find open targets down the field. There were signs that even at 5-7, the Browns could win out and make the postseason if they get some help.

From the first offensive snap, you could tell what the gameplan was: Coach conservatively on offense. Run the football with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Throw short passes to let Watson get his feet wet but don't take too many chances throwing the football down the field.

The main goal for Watson in his first game back was to let him get back into rhythm of running the offensive operation. Let him become comfortable hearing Stefanski’s voice in the headset, getting the play called in the huddle and running the play effectively. The coaching staff knew they could beat the Texans with defense and special teams, and their main objective on the offensive side of the ball was to ease Watson back into the flow of the football game because they know they're going to need him to be the superstar quarterback he's shown he could be in Houston later in the season when the weather is cold, and precipitation could be an issue.

Watson may have just got back on the gridiron, but the standards have been raised for the Browns because of the amount of money the organization gave to Watson back in March to be the savior of the franchise. As rusty as he was in his first game wearing an orange helmet, there were signs that showed why the Browns brass went and got him this offseason. His baggage off the field is troubling to many in the fan base, but he is an upgrade at the most important position in football on the field, and that was clear Sunday.

Cleveland is now officially in the Deshaun Watson era.



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