Watson completed 19 of 29 passes for 230 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in Sunday's 28-14 loss to Pittsburgh. He added six rushes for 44 yards.
Analysis: Watson had an up-and-down performance to close the 2022 season. He led a drive early in the second quarter that he concluded with a 10-yard touchdown pass, but he then followed that up with an interception on the following possession to change the momentum of the game. After returning from a more than year-long layoff, Watson has understandably shown rust across the final six games of the campaign. It remains to be seen whether he can regain the dynamic playmaking ability he showed while with the Texans, though he'll enter the 2023 season with key offensive playmakers such as Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones and David Njoku still on the roster.
Jan 8, 2023 4:09 PM EST
Watson completed nine of 18 passes for 169 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in Sunday's 24-10 win over the Commanders.
Analysis: Watson attempted his fewest passes of the season, though it was by far his most efficient performance. He averaged 9.4 yards per attempt and also managed his first multi-touchdown performance of the campaign on strikes from 46, 13 and 33 yards away. Watson still appears to be working on finding a rhythm with his new team, though Sunday's performance was his most encouraging in a Browns uniform.
Jan 1, 2023 6:46 PM EST
Watson completed 15 of 31 passes for 135 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in the Browns' 17-10 loss to the Saints on Saturday. He also rushed three times for 24 yards and a touchdown.
Analysis: Watson's lackluster final line tells the story of how sluggish an offensive performance it was overall in the frigid conditions in Cleveland. Watson found his most success when targeting Amari Cooper, who he hit on six occasions for 72 yards, and he also put some points on the board with a 12-yard scoring scramble on the first play of the second quarter. However, success through the air was unsurprisingly elusive due to the weather and a stingy Saints secondary, leaving Watson with his third sub-200-yard effort in the first four games of his Browns career. The loss eliminated Cleveland from postseason contention, but Watson will aim to continue knocking off rust in a Week 17 road matchup against the Commanders on Jan. 1.
Dec 24, 2022 1:20 PM EST
Watson completed 18 of 28 passes for 161 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in Saturday's 13-3 win over the Ravens. He added six rushes for 22 yards.
Analysis: The Browns were in a positive game script for much of the contest, which allowed them to run a balanced offense. Watson wasn't asked to carry the team as a result, though he still struggled to a subpar 5.8 yards per attempt. Despite the inefficiency, he didn't turn the ball over and also managed to connect with Donovan Peoples-Jones for a three-yard touchdown late in the third quarter -- Watson's second score in three games this season. While there have been glimpses of promise in the last two weeks, Watson has also been held below 200 passing yards in two of his three starts.
Dec 17, 2022 6:12 PM EST
Watson completed 26 of 42 passes for 276 yards, one touchdown and one interception in Sunday's 23-10 loss to the Bengals. He added 33 yards on six rushing attempts.
Analysis: After a shaky Browns debut last week, Watson looked marginally more comfortable in his second appearance. His first two passes went for gains of 18 and 13 yards, and he finished the first quarter with completions on all four of his attempts, though neither team produced any points. Watson's first touchdown pass in a Cleveland uniform came in the third quarter, when he found tight end David Njoku from 13 yards out, but Watson was picked off on the following possession. He's still shaking off the rust from his extended layoff, which will make Watson a risky fantasy option in Week 15 against the Ravens as many leagues begin their playoffs.
Dec 11, 2022 2:07 PM EST
Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski that he'd feel comfortable calling designed runs for Watson in Sunday's game against the Bengals, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
Analysis: The big topic coming out of Watson's season debut last week was the quarterback's rust. It showed. While he should improve with a game under his belt, Stefanski can't expect the Pro Bowl-version of the Watson. That means a heavy reliance on running back Nick Chubb and potentially Watson used as a runner at times. "We'll see how it goes. Game-plans change week to week. Sometimes it will call for him to run a lot. Sometimes it will call for him not to run at all," the coach said. Watson was a frequent runner while with the Texans -- sometimes out necessity -- and his legs may come back sooner than his arm.
Dec 9, 2022 5:29 PM EST
Watson acknowledged there are timing issues as he returns to the field following a lengthy absence from game action, Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal reports. ""All of that stuff's gotta come back and, like I said last week, I don't know when it's gonna come back. I don't know if it was gonna be last week, this week. My job is to just keep getting better and when it clicks it, it clicks and everyone will feel that," the quarterback said.
Analysis: Watson was naturally underwhelming last week, his first regular-season game played in 700 days. He may not return to the Pro Bowl form he displayed prior to his nearly two years away from the game this week against the Bengals, but the quarterback sounds confident that form will come back. Watson said he was able to get a feel for the "speed of the game and how defenses adjust," but there were noticeable timing issues with receivers, often throwing short or behind targets. Watson will get the opportunity to further acclimate Sunday, as head coach Kevin Stefanski said there are no plans to start Jacoby Brissett in what will be a matchup critical to Cleveland's slim playoff hopes.
Dec 9, 2022 5:21 AM EST
Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski said Watson will start Week 14 against the Bengals, despite the rust he showed in last week's win over the Texans, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. " Deshaun is our quarterback. We're focused on having a really good day of practice [Wednesday] and having a great day on Sunday," the coach said.
Analysis: Watson completed 12 of 22 passes for 131 yards with no touchdowns, a 53.9 rating and an interception Week 13. The rust was evident after not playing a game since 2020. At 5-7, the Browns hope to keep their slim playoff chances alive -- currently at nine percent per Five-Thirty-Eight and three percent according to the New York Times' playoff indicator -- but Stefanski has no plans to use an in-sync Jacoby Brissett and will stick with Watson, whose passes last week were often low or off target. The quarterback looked sharp during Wednesday's practice, but those sessions are much different than game conditions.
Dec 7, 2022 6:21 PM EST
Watson completed 12 of 22 passes for 131 yards, no touchdowns and one interception in Sunday's 27-14 win over the Texans. He added seven rushes for 21 yards.
Analysis: Watson made his first start since Week 16 of the 2020 season, and -- as expected -- he showed plenty of rust. He managed a few chunk gains, highlighted by a deep pass down the field to Donovan Peoples-Jones for a 27-yard gain. However, Watson struggled with inaccuracy, and he also forced a pass late in the first quarter that resulted in an interception at the goal line. Positively for Watson, the Browns could rely on the run game and still defeat the Texans, so he'll look to get up to speed in time for a more daunting Week 14 matchup against the Bengals.
Dec 4, 2022 3:48 PM EST
Watson was officially added to Cleveland's 53-man roster Monday and is expected to start Sunday's game against the Texans, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Analysis: After waiting 700 days since his last NFL appearance, Watson will make his return against his former team Sunday. Joshua Dobbs was waived in a corresponding move to make room on the roster for Watson, while Jacoby Brissett will be relegated to a backup role.
Nov 28, 2022 11:07 AM EST
Watson has complied with the terms of his 11-game suspension and will be officially reinstated by the NFL on Monday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.
Analysis: After being handed the ban Aug. 18, Watson was placed on the reserve/suspended list at the conclusion of the preseason and had been away from the Browns for about a month and a half before he was cleared in mid-October to resume working out at the team facility and attending meetings. Watson was then cleared to resume practicing Nov. 14, and once he gets another week of practice under his belt during the upcoming week, he'll unseat Jacoby Brissett as the Browns' new starting quarterback beginning with the team's Dec. 4 in Houston. Watson's return to the lineup against his former Texans squad will mark his first regular-season appearance in 700 days, as he last took the field in Houston's Week 17 game in 2020.
Nov 27, 2022 5:20 AM EST
Watson (suspension) is eligible to begin practicing Monday and remains on track to make his Browns and season debuts Week 13 in Houston, The Athletic reports.
Analysis: According to the terms of the 11-game suspension he received Aug. 30 for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, Watson remained away from the Browns from the end of the preseason through Oct. 10, when he was eligible to rejoin the team facility. Over the past month, Watson was able to work out and the facility and sit in during team meetings, but now he'll be able to take the practice field with the rest of his teammates for the next three weeks before suiting up on game day for the first time. General manager Andrew Berry said back on Nov. 2 that Watson will reclaim the starting quarterback job when first available Week 13, and there's little reason to think that the Browns' plans on that front have changed while the team has gotten off to a 3-6 start to the season with Jacoby Brissett presiding over the offense.
Nov 14, 2022 6:39 AM EST
Browns general manager Andrew Berry said Wednesday that Watson (suspension) will start Week 13 against the Texans on Dec. 4, the first game the quarterback will be eligible to make his Cleveland debut, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
Analysis: Though Berry noted that fill-in starter Jacoby Brissett has been "everything we hoped" while directing the offense through the team's first eight games, the Browns didn't trade for Watson and then sign him to a lavish extension to have him sit on the bench. Berry's comments thus don't come as a surprise, but they at least indicate that Watson has been able to stay on track with his workouts since he began serving his 11-game suspension following the preseason. Per the terms of his suspension, Watson was able to return to the Browns' team facility Oct. 10 to take part in meetings and workouts, but he's not eligible to resume practicing until Week 11. Assuming the Browns' plan to have him start Week 13 doesn't change, Watson will be making his first regular-season appearance since Jan. 3, 2021, as he sat out the entire past season while he was still a member of the Texans.
Nov 2, 2022 7:38 AM EST
Watson (suspension) rejoined the Browns on Monday and is eligible to attend meetings and work out at the team facility, Tom Withers of the Associated Press reports.
Analysis: Per the conditions of his 11-game suspension, Watson won't be able to practice with the Browns until Nov. 14, but he'll at least be able to have some involvement in a team structure over the next month. Once he begins practicing, Watson will have to wait three more weeks to make his 2022 and Browns debut, which is expected to come Week 13 in Houston on Dec. 4. Until that time, the 2-3 Browns will hope that Jacoby Brissett can keep the team in playoff contention while he continues to start under center.
Oct 10, 2022 10:17 AM EST
The Browns placed Watson on the reserve/suspended list Tuesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports.
Analysis: The transaction is merely a formality, as Watson's placement on the list allows the Browns to whittle their roster down to 53 men prior to Tuesday's deadline. Though he's ineligible to make his Browns debut until Week 13 in Houston while he serves his 11-game suspension, Watson is able to return to the team's facility Oct. 10. He'll be able to resume practicing Nov. 14 and is eligible to be reinstated to the roster Nov. 28, assuming he complies with the conditions of the settlement and treatment plan that accompanied his suspension. Jacoby Brissett is on track to open the season as the Browns' starting quarterback while Watson is unavailable.
Aug 30, 2022 3:46 PM EST
Coach Kevin Stefanski noted Thursday that Watson won't play in the Browns' final two preseason games, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
Analysis: Watson has been suspended for the first 11 games of the 2022 season for violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy. Per NFL.com, the quarterback's suspension will take effect on Aug. 30, after which he will be eligible for reinstatement on Nov. 28 and eligible to play in Week 13 against the Texans. Jacoby Brissett is in line to fill in as the Browns' starter to begin the coming season while Watson is unavailable, with Joshua Dobbs and Josh Rosen currently rounding out the team's QB depth chart.
Aug 18, 2022 10:57 AM EST
The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to a settlement that will result in Watson serving an 11-game suspension to start the coming season, Jake Trotter of ESPN.com reports.
Analysis: Additionally, Watson will pay a $5 million fine for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The Browns' QB will be eligible to return to action in Week 13, with Jacoby Brissett in line to fill in as the team's starter while Watson is unavailable.
Aug 18, 2022 9:04 AM EST
Watson's representatives and the NFL Players Association are reportedly actively negotiating a discipline settlement with the NFL, Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
Analysis: The report notes that as Watson awaits designee Peter C. Harvey's ruling on the NFL's appeal of his six -game suspension, the two sides have continued to negotiate, with Cabot indicating that a settlement could potentially be reached within the next few days. NFL Network's Judy Battista previously noted that the league is seeking a one-year suspension for Watson, but Cabot suggests that if a settlement can be reached, the quarterback could take the field at some point during the regular season.
Aug 17, 2022 9:25 AM EST
Watson completed one of five passes for seven yards in Friday's 24-13 win over Jacksonville.
Analysis: Watson played the first three drives, and the team failed to pick up a first down during his time in the game. He was understandably rusty after sitting out all of last season, but Watson should continue to get ample opportunities to find his game throughout the remainder of the preseason before sitting out at least the first six games of the regular season due to a suspension. Watson will look to put forth a sharper performance in Cleveland's second preseason game, Aug. 21 against the Eagles.
Aug 12, 2022 7:35 PM EST
Watson remains slated to play in Friday night's preseason game against the Jaguars, James Palmer of NFL Network and Mary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer report.
Analysis: As Friday's 7 ET kickoff approaches, NFL designee Peter C. Harvey -- who was appointed by commissioner Roger Goodell to hear the league's appeal of Watson's six-game suspension -- has yet to render a decision that might affect the quarterback's status. Per Cabot, Watson was present for warmups ahead of Cleveland's contest versus Jacksonville, which he is in line to start.
Aug 12, 2022 2:29 PM EST
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