Browns Week 13 studs and duds: Donovan Peoples-Jones ends ugly streak

Browns, Donovan Peoples-Jones. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Browns, Donovan Peoples-Jones. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /
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Browns, Donovan Peoples-Jones
Browns, Donovan Peoples-Jones. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

Stud: Donovan Peoples-Jones, Wide Receiver

It had been 121 games since Cleveland had a touchdown on a punt return but that changed when Donovan Peoples-Jones took one to the house for a 76-yard touchdown.

DPJ recently took over the punt return duties and he showed flashes last week as he had 75 yards on five returns with a 29-yarder. He came close to breaking that one and finally did against Houston, and the Browns needed it.

Before his touchdown, they had struggled to finish drives and were down 5-0. He put them up 7-5 and the Texans never had the lead again.

Peoples-Jones finished the day with three punt returns for 86 yards and had three receptions for 44 yards including a team-high 27-yarder.

Dud: Deshaun Watson to Amari Cooper connection

If anyone thought Deshaun Watson would start out by throwing the ball all over the field in this one, they were fooling themselves. The former Houston Texan was making his first start in 700 days and even when he played in the preseason this year, he had just one drive.

Rust should have been expected and it was definitely there. While many of his passes were low, the worst connection — or lack thereof — was between Watson and Amari Cooper. Nine passes went toward Cooper and he was able to catch just four of them for 40 yards.

The two have been trying to work on their connection in practice but nothing can perfectly simulate the actual game. That was evident on Sunday but it should get better from here on out.