It took him nearly a year, but Deshaun Watson finally has his first signature win with the Cleveland Browns.
Nearly a full calendar year after making his long-anticipated Browns debut, Watson delivered a performance befitting a $230 million quarterback, bringing Cleveland back in a wild 33-31 victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
Watson got off to a slow start against the Ravens' formidable defense on the road, throwing a pick-six on his first drive of the game. The shorthanded Browns quickly fell behind 17-3 by the end of the first quarter, but Watson didn't panic.
Instead, he put together one of the best second-half performances by a quarterback this year.
With Cleveland trailing 17-9 at halftime, he found another gear. Watson completed all 14 of his pass attempts in the second half, throwing for 134 yards and a touchdown through the air. He also added 16 yards on the ground and outdueled Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
More importantly, Watson got the Browns into field goal range at the end of the game with his team trailing 31-30, setting up Dustin Hopkins for the game-winning field goal.
Overall, Watson finished 20-of-34 passing for 213 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception and 37 rushing yards, officially putting his recent injury woes behind him.
It may not have been the most impressive statistical game of Watson's career in Cleveland so far, but it was certainly the most meaningful. Not only did he beat a favored division rival on the road, but he also moved the Browns to 6-3, putting them just half a game behind 7-3 Baltimore.
Watson was pretty close to perfect in the second half and made all the big plays when he needed to. If he plays like that during the second half of the season, Cleveland is going to be a major problem for the rest of the NFL and may have finally found its Super Bowl-caliber quarterback.
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