HOUSTON — Deshaun Watson threw for 225 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the first rookie in NFL history with at least three TD passes in three straight games, helping give the Houston Texans a 33-17 win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Watson has thrown 15 touchdown passes this season, the most in NFL history by a rookie in a team’s first six games. It equals the number of TD throws Brock Osweiler had in 15 games last season.
The Browns lost their 16th in a row on the road.
Cleveland made yet another change at quarterback this week, benching rookie DeShone Kizer, who had thrown a league-high nine interceptions, for Kevin Hogan to make his first NFL start. The results were much the same as Hogan threw three interceptions to keep the Browns (0-6) winless and drop coach Hue Jackson’s record in Cleveland to 1-21.
Johnathan Joseph had two interceptions, including one he returned for 82 yards to boost the Texans’ defense in their first game since J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus sustained season-ending injuries last week.
Watson threw TD passes to Will Fuller, Braxton Miller and DeAndre Hopkins as the Texans (3-3) set a franchise record by scoring at least 30 points for the fourth straight game.
The game was tied at 3 after both teams made field goals early when Watson connected with Fuller on a 39-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter. That was Fuller’s third straight catch for a TD.
Joseph’s first interception return for a touchdown since 2014 came on Cleveland’s next possession, but the extra point kick failed to push the lead to 16-3.
Dylan Cole intercepted Hogan on the next drive, but Houston couldn’t convert.
Rookie D’Onta Foreman had a 39-yard run later in the second quarter to get Houston to the 2-yard line. Miller, a healthy scratch the past two weeks, grabbed a shovel pass from Watson and somersaulted into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown and Ryan Griffin caught the 2-point conversion to make it 24-3.
Joseph grabbed his second interception late in the second quarter.
Browns quarterback woes have long been an issue, with Hogan becoming their 28th starter since 1999. But the longstanding problem seemed even worse on Sunday when Cleveland faced a quarterback that could have been playing for it. The Browns had the 12th overall pick in this year’s draft but traded it to the Texans, who used it to select Watson, a national champion at Clemson last season.
Hogan was 20 of 37 for 140 yards. He was flagged for intentional grounding in the end zone under heavy pressure from Benardrick McKinney to give Houston a safety in the third quarter.
Watson found Hopkins in the back of the end zone for 3-yard touchdown pass later in the third quarter to extend the lead to 33-3.
Defensive end Myles Garrett, who was the top overall pick in this year’s draft, got more extensive playing time in his second game after playing just 19 snaps in his debut last week. Previously he was out with a right high ankle sprain.
Cleveland’s only offensive touchdown came late in the fourth quarter when Hogan’s 3-yard pass to Seth DeValve cut the lead to 33-17. Jason McCourty’s 56-yard pick-6 was the other Cleveland TD.