Week 13 instant reactions: Deshaun Watson rusty but Browns win easily

Browns, Tony Fields II. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Browns, Tony Fields II. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /

Deshaun Watson was rusty in his first start in 700 days but the Cleveland Browns defense and special teams led them to a big win over the Houston Texans

It was a long wait for Deshaun Watson who made his Cleveland Browns debut on Sunday.

As expected, he was rusty as he played against his former team, the Houston Texans, but he got plenty of help.

Cleveland started out slow and was trailing 5-0 but then their special teams made a huge play to turn the tide. Donovan Peoples-Jones was the one who gave them the needed spark as he took a punt back 76 yards to put the Browns up 7-5.

Cleveland’s defense also got in on the fun as they scored the next touchdown, with Denzel Ward taking a fumble back one-yard to the house for a 14-8 lead.

14. 10. Final. 27. 53

That play was also thanks to special teams as well. Houston was in a terrible spot after Corey Bojorquez punted the ball to the one-yard line, which is where A.J. Green was able to down it.

Defense and special teams were excellent

The defense wasn’t done there as Tony Fields II was also on the receiving end of a Houston mistake. Chase Winovich read a play perfectly as he batted a screen pass into the air and Fields recorded his first career interception, taking it in for a touchdown.

He then recovered a fumble on another punt, following a forced fumble from Jordan Kunaszyk.

Browns offense is a work in progress

Throughout the season, Cleveland’s offense looked like a well-oiled machine. That wasn’t the case on Sunday as Watson was clearly still learning his new team. He had several low passes but did start to improve as the game went on.

With nearly two years off, it would have been a mistake to think there wouldn’t be rust. In the end, this was the perfect game for Watson to knock off the cobwebs as they prepare for a trip to Cincinnati in Week 14.

With a real game under his belt now, look for Watson to show improvement against the Bengals. It would be nice if that happens while the defense and special teams continue to play as they did against Houston.

Cade York looked better

Cade York was taken in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft and there were some upset fans when the selection was announced. Following a stretch where he was 6-10 over the past five games, York hit on each of his attempts against Houston.

Might not be much but it’s a start.

Next up

The Browns play the Bengals in Week 14 at Cincinnati. It’s a rematch of their Week 7 game which was played on Halloween. Cleveland won that one 32-13 and Joe Burrow has yet to beat his in-state rival.