Two hundred and seventy-five days after initially agreeing to join the Cleveland Browns, Deshaun Watson will make his home debut next week in a stadium that likely won’t be full in a season that is already lost.
It’s Week 14 and the Browns are still making inexcusable mistakes in all three phases of the game, which has rendered their last four games rather meaningless. We’ll get to the mistakes in a minute.
For now, I have maintained for months that the focus and goals for this season shifted drastically — how could they not? — once Watson’s suspension was extended by the league to 11 games.
Now there is nothing left to debate. The only motive following Sunday’s 23-10 loss to the Bengals is to spend these last four games getting Watson and this offense ready for 2023, when everyone employed at 76 Lou Groza Blvd. will feel the intense pressure and strain to win. Immediately.
The Browns are 12th in the AFC at 5-8. They’re two games out of the wild card and four games behind in the division with four to play and they hold no tiebreakers. It’s over. Last one out get the lights.
The only reason left to watch now is Watson.
He looked better against the Bengals, but he certainly wasn’t great. The offense has scored one touchdown in two weeks under his direction and that didn’t come until late in the third quarter Sunday in his 18th drive of the season (not counting end-of-half and end-of-game situations).