A week after a thrilling overtime win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Browns built on their momentum Sunday afternoon when they defeated the Houston Texans 27-14.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson made his Browns debut after he was suspended for the first 11 games of the season for personal conduct policy violations. Despite the win, Watson looked like a player with layers upon layers of rust that need knocked off.
Watson finished 12-of-22 passing (54.5%) for 131 yards with an interception for a rating of 53.4. He rushed seven times for 21 yards and took one sack.
All of the Browns' points came from their defense and special teams.
What is the atmosphere like in Houston?:Tepid pregame reaction turns to loud in-game boos for Browns QB Deshaun Watson at NRG Stadium
Return here throughout the game for latest updates, scoring and analysis. Here's some additional info on the game:
Houston Texans score garbage-time touchdown vs. Cleveland Browns
With 1:57 left to play, the Texans cut the Browns' lead to 27-14 when quarterback Kyle Allen and wide receiver Nico Collins connected for a 6-yard touchdown pass.
Allen then threw the ball out of the back of the end zone on a two-point attempt.
And the Texans failed to recover the ensuing onside kick.
Browns starting linebacker Sione Takitaki suffered an injury with 5:29 left in the fourth quarter during a Texans punt return.
The Browns actually created a turnover on the same play. As Desmond King II returned a punt, Jordan Kunaszyk forced him to fumble. Fellow Browns linebacker Tony Fields recovered the fumble at the Houston 33-yard line and returned 1 yard to the 32 with 5:29 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Cleveland Browns built 27-8 lead with Cade York's second field goal of the game
The Browns parlayed the turnover on special teams into three points.
They went ahead 27-8 when rookie Cade York made a 42-yard field goal with 4:03 left in the fourth quarter.
Tony Fields gives Browns their second defensive touchdown and a 24-8 lead vs. Houston Texans
The Watson-led offense failed to score, but fortunately for the Browns, their defense and special teams picked up the slack.
Fields intercepted a pass thrown by Allen and deflected by defensive end Chase Winovich. Then Fields returned the pick 16 yards for a touchdown with 9:30 left in the fourth quarter.
Cleveland's second defensive TD of the game allowed it to take a 24-8 lead.
Cade York makes field goal to give Cleveland Browns nine-point cushion in fourth quarter
Although the Browns did not score on offense, they led 17-8 after York made a 43-yard field goal with 9:36 remaining in the fourth quarter.
The Browns settled for the kick at the end of an 11-play, 42-yard drive.
Texans cut deficit vs. Browns to 14-8 in the third quarter on Ka'imi Fairbairn field goal
After the Browns went ahead by nine points early in the second half with a defensive touchdown, the Texans assembled a seven-play, 59-yard drive and settled for Ka'imi Fairbairn's 35-yard field goal.
The score trimmed the Browns' lead to 14-8 with 5:08 remaining in the third quarter.
Cleveland Browns take 14-5 lead with Denzel Ward's fumble recovery for a touchdown
The Browns extended their lead to 14-5 with 10:10 left in the third quarter.
On second-and-10 from the Houston 1-yard line, Allen attempted a quarterback sneak while the Texans were backed up against the end zone. Allen fumbled, with Fields given credit for the tackle.
Cornerback Denzel Ward scooped up the ball and returned 4 yards for a touchdown. It was Ward's second fumble recovery for a TD this season. He's actually the first Browns player to recover two fumbles for TDs in a single season.
Browns wide receiver Anthony Schwartz visits locker room early in the third quarter and is evaluated for a head injury
Browns wide receiver Anthony Schwartz visited the blue medical tent on the Cleveland sideline early in the third quarter and then went to the visiting locker room at NRG Stadium, the Beacon Journal's Chris Easterling reported from Houston.
Later, the Browns announced Schwartz was being evaluated for a head injury.
Donovan Peoples-Jones returns punt for a touchdown and Cleveland Browns lead Houston Texans 7-5 at halftime
With the Browns trailing 5-0, receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones gave Cleveland the spark on special teams it had been seeking for what felt like an eternity.
Peoples-Jones returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown, allowing the Browns to capture a 7-5 lead with 3:41 left in the second quarter.
The Browns hadn't returned a punt for a touchdown in more than seven years. It happened when former Browns receiver Travis Benjamin had a 78-yard punt return for a TD on Sept. 20, 2015, when Cleveland defeated the visiting Tennessee Titans 28-14.
As a result of Peoples-Jones' return, the Browns led the Texans 7-5 at halftime.
Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson intercepted by Houston Texans in the end zone
With Watson experiencing real NFL game action for the first time in 700 days, everyone wondered whether he would need to knock off rust.
You be the judge.
You've already seen Watson's final numbers. In the first half, he went 8-of-14 passing (57.1%) for 96 yards with an interception for a rating of 48.5.
The Browns were knocking on the door for a score during their third possession when Watson threw an interception.
On first-and-10 from the Houston 11-yard line, Watson's pass intended for receiver Amari Cooper in the end zone went directly to rookie safety Jalen Pitre, who returned the interception 29 yards to the Texans 26 with 3:23 remaining in the first quarter.
Then the Browns defense went into bend-but-don't-break mode to bail out Watson, who appeared in a regular-season game for the first time since Jan. 3, 2021, after sitting out last season in Houston amid a trade request.
Texans stopped short of end zone after interception, but they go ahead 5-0 with a safety
After the pick, the Texans marched to the Cleveland 1 and went for it on fourth-and-goal. Allen threw a pass to rookie fullback Troy Hairston, but Browns safety Grant Delpit broke up the play by hitting Hairston right in front of the goal line, forcing a turnover on downs with 13:02 left in the second quarter.
However, the Browns were backed up against the end zone and therefore not out of trouble.
The Texans registered a safety and captured a 5-0 lead with 11:53 remaining in the second quarter by tackling Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb in the end zone on second-and-10 from the Cleveland 1. Defensive tackle Roy Lopez was credited with the key tackle.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver David Bell suffers hand injury in first quarter
The Browns announced rookie receiver David Bell suffered a hand injury in the first quarter and listed him as questionable to return to the game.
Bell went to the locker room at NRG Stadium, Easterling reported.
In the third quarter, the Browns ruled out Bell for the remainder of the game.
Anthony Schwartz loses fumble after catching pass from Deshaun Watson on Cleveland Browns' second series and Houston Texans take 3-0 lead
On their second possession of the game, the Browns gave the ball back to the Texans.
Facing second-and-5 at the Cleveland 35-yard line, Watson scrambled and threw a short pass to Schwartz. As Schwartz ran with the ball, former Browns cornerback Tavierre Thomas forced him to fumble. Fellow Texans defensive back Desmond King II recovered the fumble at the Houston 49 and returned 13 yards to the Cleveland 38 with 11:53 remaining in the first quarter.
The Texans turned the takeaway into three points. Fairbairn's 44-yard field goal gave Houston a 3-0 advantage with 8:02 left in the opening quarter.
First play from scrimmage leads to a Cleveland Browns challenge and takeaway, then the offense goes three-and-out with Deshaun Watson
The Texans began the game with the ball, and on the first play from scrimmage, Allen launched a deep pass to tight end Teagan Quitoriano.
After Quitoriano made a diving attempt to complete the catch, the ball flung into the air and was caught by Browns safety John Johnson III along the Houston sideline with 14:54 left in the first quarter.
The officials initially ruled it an incomplete pass, but Browns coach Kevin Stefanski challenged the call on the field.
The Browns won the challenge, resulting in their fourth interception this season.
Cleveland took over on its 43-yard line.
The Browns then went three-and-out in Watson's first regular-season series with them.
What TV channel is the Browns at Texans game on?
The game kicks off at 1 p.m. It will air on CBS
How to listen to Texans vs Browns on the radio
Browns games air locally on the radio on 92.3 The Fan (WKRK-FM), ESPN 850 WKNR and WNCX (98.5 FM) with Jim Donovan (play-by-play), Nathan Zegura (color) and Jerod Cherry (sideline).
Browns at Texans line, odds
Provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated Saturday at 9:48 p.m. ET.
Moneyline (ML): Browns -370 (bet $370 to win $100) | Texans +305 (bet $100 to win $305)
Against the spread: Browns -7.5 (-111) | Texans +7.5 (-109)
Over/Under (O/U): 46.5 (O: -112 | U: -108)
Browns at Texans key injuries
No notable injuries
RB Rex Burkhead (concussion) questionable
WR Brandin Cooks (not injury related) out
CB Derek Stingley Jr. (hamstring) out
What did Deshaun Watson do?
More than two dozen women filed lawsuits against Watson, accusing him of sexual assault or sexual misconduct during massage appointments. Watson has reached settlements on all but two of the suits. Two Texas grand juries combined to decline to indict Watson on 10 criminal complaints.
How long was Deshaun Watson suspended?
The Browns quarterback was forced to sit out the first 11 games of the season as the result of the NFL and NFL Players Association reaching a settlement after the league appealed his initial six-game suspension.
The discipline agreed upon by the NFL and NFLPA forced Watson out of Browns headquarters from Aug. 30 until Oct. 10. He has been able to attend meetings, receive treatment and participate in strength and conditioning activities since then.
Deshaun Watson's contract with the Browns
When the Browns traded with the Texans for Watson, they signed him to a record-setting deal. The five-year contract was for $230 million fully guaranteed. It broke the previous record for guaranteed money in an NFL contract by $80 million.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Browns, Deshaun Watson don't score on offense in win vs Texans