NFL: Watson unimpressive as Browns down Texans, Eagles and Bengals win

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Dec 05 2022 10:07 AM

Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns attempts a pass during the third quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Carmen Mandato, Getty Images/AFP
Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns attempts a pass during the third quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 04, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Carmen Mandato, Getty Images/AFP

LOS ANGELES -- Deshaun Watson was less than impressive in his return from an NFL suspension Sunday, but Cleveland's defensive dominance saw him win his Browns debut 27-14 over the Houston Texans.

With playoff races heating up around the league, there was little riding on the contest in Houston.

But the first game in almost two years for quarterback Watson -- who was suspended for 11 games after more than two dozen women accused him of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct during massage sessions -- put the game in the spotlight.

Watson had already missed all of the 2021 season for the Texans before the Browns controversially acquired him.

On Sunday he was booed by Houston fans on every snap and clearly showed the effects of his time off.

"I'll just say I felt every one of those 700 days," said Watson after the Browns offense generated just six points -- on field goals from Cade York.

Donovan Peoples-Jones took a punt return 76 yards for a Cleveland touchdown, cornerback Denzel Ward had a four-yard fumble return for a touchdown, and linebacker Tony Fields returned an interception 16 yards for a TD to make up for the Browns' lack of offensive production.

Elsewhere, Philadelphia inched closer to a playoff berth with a 35-10 victory over the Tennessee Titans that took their league-best record to 11-1.

The Cincinnati Bengals again got the better of Kansas City, beating the Chiefs 27-24, and the San Francisco 49ers shook off the early injury departure of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to beat the Miami Dolphins 33-17.

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, exiting the field to chants of "M-V-P!"

Philadelphia wide receiver AJ Brown torched his former team with a game-high eight catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns.

"This one meant a lot to me," Brown acknowledged. "Early on, I had mixed emotions about the trade and everything, and I'd be lying to you to say I didn't circle this game."

In Cincinnati, the Bengals beat the Chiefs in a rematch of last season's AFC Championship game.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 16 of 27 passes for 233 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.

Bengals counterpart Joe Burrow completed 25 of 31 passes for 286 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions in the back and forth battle.

Despite the defeat, the Chiefs remain in position to challenge Buffalo for the top seed in the AFC, both teams now at 9-3.

With Garoppolo sidelined early, the 49ers defense came through and contained the potentially explosive Dolphins offense.

Miami opened the game with a 75-yard touchdown by Trent Sherfield on their first play from scrimmage, but struggled to move the ball from there.

San Francisco didn't allow a third-down conversion in the game, the Dolphins mustering just 14 first downs.

Rookie Brock Purdy came in for Garoppolo and threw two touchdown passes as the Niners snapped Miami's five-game winning streak.

The Minnesota Vikings produced more last-minute magic, sealing a 27-22 victory over the New York Jets on Camryn Bynum's fourth-down goal line interception of Jets quarterback Mike White.

The Vikings' 10th win of the season means they'll have a chance to clinch the NFC North title with a win at Detroit next week.

Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins connected on 21 of 35 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown to Justin Jefferson with 8:33 to play that proved enough to win the game.

- Packers rally past Bears -

AFC North leaders Baltimore saw quarterback Lamar Jackson limp off with a knee injury in the first quarter, but with backup Tyler Huntley at the helm edged the Denver Broncos 10-9.

Huntley capped a 91-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run with 28 seconds remaining to seize the win, and in more good news after the game the Ravens announced that the injury to Jackson, the 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player, was not expected to end his season.

In Chicago, banged-up Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers extended his dominance of the Bears, rallying the Packers to a milestone 28-19 victory.

Rodgers' 25th career win over the Bears was the Packers 787th regular-season triumph -- moving them past the Bears to the top of the NFL's all-time list.

The Bears had held sway as the league's winningest team for more than 100 games.

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