The Cleveland Browns were overwhelmed by the division rival Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, crumbling 28-3 in fifth-round rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s first career start. The rookie threw three interceptions and was sacked four times while totaling 121 yards on 19-of-36 passing. However, Cleveland didn’t find out until pregame warmups if starter Deshaun Watson was going to play as he was working through a shoulder injury.
“We listed him as questionable,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said after the game Sunday. “He didn’t throw all week, and we had to get to the game, that was going to be the first time he was going to throw to see, ultimately, how he felt.”
The uncertainty stemmed from Watson being medically cleared, according to Stefanski, but the 28-year-old quarterback didn’t feel like he was good enough to suit up on Sunday.
“He knows his body,” Stefanski said. “He’s played through serious pain before. Very, very serious injuries. It wasn’t a matter of pain tolerance or anything. He just did not feel like he had his full faculties.”
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Had Cleveland won the game, they would have had sole possession of first place in the AFC North. Instead, they share second place with the Pittsburgh Steelers after a 2-2 start. Thompson-Robinson showed some flashes in the preseason, but it’s clear that in order to win this year, Watson provides the Browns with their best chance to do so.