Steelers Face Sudden QB Change With Deshaun Watson’s Season Over

Deshaun Watson

Getty Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will not play in Week 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers only had to face Cleveland Browns 2022 second-team All-Pro running back Nick Chubb for roughly a quarter this season because of a gruesome injury he sustained in Week 2. The Steelers won’t face Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson either in the Week 11 rematch.

The Browns announced on X (formerly Twitter) that Watson will have season-ending shoulder surgery.

“Deshaun Watson will undergo season-ending surgery on a broken bon in his throwing shoulder,” the Browns official X account posted on November 15.

The Browns also released a statement in the tweet.

Deshaun Watson underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) Monday on two injuries sustained on different plays in the first half of Sunday’s 33-31 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Imaging on his left ankle revealed a high-ankle sprain. In addition, postgame, Deshaun notified our medical staff of a new discomfort in his right shoulder that he felt after a hit in the first half. An MRI of his right shoulder revealed a displaced fracture to the glenoid. Despite performing at a high level and finishing the game, after consultation with Browns’ Head Physician, James Voss, MD, and industry-leading shoulder specialist, Neal ElAttrache, MD, it has been determined that this injury will require immediate surgical repair to avoid further structural damage. Deshaun will be placed on season-ending injured reserve and a full recovery is expected for the start of the 2024 season.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported P.J. Walker will start at quarterback for the Browns in Week 11 against the Steelers.

UPDATE: Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters on November 15 that rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson will start in Week 11.

Browns Rule Out QB Deshaun Watson Because of New Shoulder Injury

Watson has dealt with a right shoulder injury for most of the season. Walker started in place of an injured Watson during Weeks 6 and 8.

But Watson will miss the rest of the 2023 season because of a new shoulder injury he sustained in the rematch against the Baltimore Ravens during Week 10.

“Browns GM Andrew Berry says Deshaun Watson suffered “a completely new injury” to his throwing shoulder, ending his season,” NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported on X. “Not related to the prior rotator cuff issue.”

When Watson was dealing with that rotator cuff issue, the quarterback received criticism for his lack of toughness. Most notably, former Browns quarterback Brady Quinn compared Watson to “a kid getting a $230 million trust fund.”

That was in reference to Watson’s contract with the Browns, which is a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million deal.

Watson, though, apparently played through two different injuries to lead Cleveland to an improbable comeback against Baltimore. Pelissero also reported that Watson wanted to continue to try to play through his latest shoulder injury.

“Watson wanted to be shot up and play through the injuries, and he sought multiple medical opinions, per sources,” Pelissero wrote on X. “But doctors were clear: if he got hit again in the same spot, the shoulder could fall apart.”

QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson to Start For Browns Against Steelers

With Watson sidelined again, the Browns were initially expected to turn to Walker for the third time in Week 11. However, Stefanski had other plans.

“Kevin Stefansi says rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson will start Week 11,” NFL Network’s Andrew Siciliano wrote on X.

Walker has completed 33 of 65 passes for 440 passing yards with 1 touchdown and 4 interceptions in two starts during 2023. He owns a career 5-4 record, including 1-1 this season.

For that reason, he seems to be the better short-term solution for Cleveland.

In his lone start against the Ravens during Week 4, Thompson-Robinson was 19-for-36 passing (52.8% completion percentage) for only 121 yards. He also had zero touchdowns and 3 interceptions in the 28-3 loss.

But the rookie will get another chance to prove he can keep the Browns in the playoff hunt against the Steelers.

Even with a rookie behind center, the Browns will likely provide the Steelers a formidable opponent this week. Cleveland’s defense is ranked first in yards allowed and first in pass defense.

Thompson-Robinson could also have an advantage due to the fact the Steelers prepared early in the week for Watson to start.

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