Week 13 may have been a long-awaited turning point for the Cleveland Browns.
In Deshaun Watson’s regular season debut as their quarterback, they up-ended the Houston Texans on the road, 27-14, on Sunday.
It wasn’t a very pretty win, but head coach Kevin Stefanski loved the effort and intensity of his players, and after the game, he reminded his men that it was the type of effort and intensity that is needed to win late in the season.
The Browns are now 5-7 on the season, and although their chances of making the playoffs are slim, they’re at least building something that will serve them very well starting next season.
Watson Wasn’t Great, But Cleveland’s Defense Was
Cleveland won Sunday’s game the old-fashioned way – with defense.
The Texans came in with one of the NFL’s worst offenses, and the team kept them down in their place by holding them to 13 points and denying them any touchdowns through the first three quarters.
The Browns’ offense failed to score even a single touchdown, but their defense got two and Donovan Peoples-Jones supplied another one on a punt return.
As expected, Watson was rusty in his first regular season game in nearly two calendar years, going just 12 of 22 for 131 yards and throwing an interception.
But the foundation was established when he served his 11-game suspension, and it continued on Sunday, as the running game yielded 174 yards.
Houston rookie standout Dameon Pierce ran for 73 yards, but the Browns prevented him from being very efficient, as they held him to 4.1 yards per carry.