Yesterday’s return of former Houston Texans star quarterback did not go well for him. Deshaun Watson failed to lead his new team, the Cleveland Browns, on a scoring drive. In fact, the only end zone pas he completed was to Texans safety Jalen Pitre.
Watson completed 12 of 22 passes for 131 yards in his first regular-season game in exactly 700 days. He also threw an interception in the end zone that negated Cleveland’s best offensive scoring opportunity.
Although NRG Stadium was half-empty, Watson was loudly booed before every Browns snap throughout the game.
While the Texans ultimately lost the game (but still won the weekly “who picks first” 2023 NFL Draft derby), there were some solid highlights for Texans fans to hang onto, such as the aforementioned Pitre.
Jalen Pitre PICKS OFF Deshaun Watson pic.twitter.com/lCAs0CbgpR— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) December 4, 2022
Jalen Pitre vs Browns:— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) December 5, 2022
• 16 TOT
• 1 PD
• 1 INT
The Texans rookie safety had himself a GAME despite the loss pic.twitter.com/HJoicVnxPv
Texans rookie safety Jalen Pitre on his interception of Deshaun Watson @JalenPitre1 @TR_RES @BUFootball pic.twitter.com/w4GPfEBQ3m— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) December 4, 2022
Rookie running back Dameon Pierce also got back on track, a little, for this one. With yesterday’s outing Pierce cemented his spot in the Texans top three rookie campaigns.
.@IRep229 has passed 1,000 career scrimmage yards, making him the third rookie in franchise history to go over the mark.— Houston Texans PR (@TexansPR) December 4, 2022
He's the first rookie to pass 1,000 scrimmage yards since RB Steve Slaton in 2008. pic.twitter.com/Llxa4kpTqa
Pierce currently has 861 rushing yards on 198 carries for a 4.3 yard per carry average. He’s caught 30 passes for an additional 165 yards. Combined, this places Pierce at a scrimmage yards total of 1,026. With five games left, Pierce’s per game total projects forward to 1,219 rushing yards.
This is good enough to give him the sixth best season rushing total behind Arian Foster and Steve Slaton.
Facing the Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts over the next month will provide the final tests of Pierce’s rookie campaign.
However, no matter how many yards Pierce gets and how many interceptions Pitre catches, Deshaun Watson still left the building as a disappointment for his new team yesterday.