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The Browns were 'good enough to dream.' Now Deshaun Watson's out for the remainder of the season

Cleveland Browns place kicker Dustin Hopkins (7) points and looks up.
Terrance Williams
Cleveland Browns kicker Dustin Hopkins (7) gestures after kicking the game-winning field goal during the second half of the Browns game against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023, in Baltimore.
Updated: November 15, 2023 at 9:47 AM EST
Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will be out for the remainder of the season, the team announced Wednesday morning.

During Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens, Watson's right shoulder, which had suffered an injury earlier in the season, was reinjured. He will undergo immediate surgery "to avoid further structural damage," a Browns statement said.

Watson is expected to return for the 2024 season.

This conversation with Terry Pluto was recorded before news of Watson's season-ending injury was announced.

A wild Browns win over Baltimore has kept hopes alive for a division title. Ideastream Public Media's sports commentator Terry Pluto said the 6-3 Browns have overcome adversity early in the season.

“If you were to know at the start of the season that Nick Chubb would be hurt by halftime of the second game of the season, that Deshaun Watson would miss basically three full games, that a guy named P.J. Walker, who most of us barely knew in training camp, if you were even aware of them at all, would end up playing three of those games and they would win two of them, you would say, 6-3? I think after nine games, 3-6 might be more like it. It sounded like one of those nightmare scenarios,” Pluto said.

But the Browns have been able to eke out close wins against good teams.

“They've won three games by three or fewer points. Two of their biggest wins rested on the kicker, Dustin Hopkins. We often talk about kickers on our program because when you don't have a good one, you lose games. When you have that veteran guy you can count on, you win those close games,” Pluto said.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson showed toughness in the come-from-behind win in Baltimore. In the first half, he was 6 of 20 passing with an interception. In the second half, after injuring his ankle, he completed all 14 of his passes for 139 yards.

“This is the type of game I think a lot of Browns fans were waiting to see. Can Deshaun Watson, you know, kind of engineer a victory on the road against a rival opponent in a big game? And he did it. It could be just a really season changer for him,” Pluto said.

Pluto also gives a lot of credit to head coach Kevin Stefanski.

“(He’s) been here since 2020, went to the playoffs and even knocked off Pittsburgh in the first round of the playoffs. But the last two years have been two frustrating, disappointing years and now I think he deserves credit for the team turning around,” Pluto said.

Next up for the Browns is another matchup against division rival Pittsburgh.

“Two of the worst games that Deshaun Watson has played since coming to Cleveland have been against Pittsburgh. So, this is a chance for him to, you know, kind of wipe that clean,” Pluto said.

The Browns’ AFC North division is a toss-up at midseason, with the Ravens at 7-3, the Browns and Steelers tied at 6-3 and the Bengals at 5-4.

“For so many years ... as it rolled into the end of November and December, it was just this road to nowhere for the Browns. One loss after another, people already talking about the NFL Draft and instead, we're in the middle of all these fun games," he said.

Pluto said it’s too early to think about a Super Bowl berth, but he said excitement is building.

“I would say, you know what the Browns are? They’re good enough to dream. In other words, they’re good enough for you to dream about them making the playoffs and it's good enough for you to dream about them maybe going somewhere in the playoffs,” Pluto said.

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