Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said it was his decision to hold Deshaun Watson out for most of Sunday’s 39-38 win over the Indianapolis Colts after the quarterback took a hit to his previously injured throwing shoulder.
“I just did not want to put him back out there,” said Stefanski postgame, according to Jake Trotter of ESPN. “I wanted to protect our franchise quarterback. That was my decision.”
Watson initially left the game to take a concussion test after being pushed to the ground on a first-quarter pass. It was ruled an interception before being overturned upon review.
He entered the medical tent twice but cleared the concussion test and returned to the bench with his helmet.
P.J. Walker replaced Watson, who had returned to action following a two-game absence due to a rotator cuff strain in his right shoulder. Walker threw for 178 yards and one interception while also leading an 80-yard game-winning drive in the final minutes.
Watson completed just one of his five passes and threw an interception before exiting.
Walker led the Browns to a shock victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6. Rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson started in place of Watson the week before in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Watson’s struggles from his first year in Cleveland have continued into this season. Entering Week 7, the veteran had completed 63.7% of his passes for 678 yards and four touchdowns against two interceptions. He ranked 17th in passer rating (87.8), 21st in QBR (46.7), and 24th in yards per attempt (6.6).