Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson had a rough Monday. He could also have a rough Tuesday.
Watson committed not one but two egregious facemask fouls in Pittsburgh, grabbing a pursuing defender by the cage and throwing him to the ground. As Chris Simms and I discussed on Tuesday’s PFT Live, Watson seemed to be frustrated — either by the fact that he can no longer run away from pursuing defenders or by whatever opposing players are saying to him in close quarters about his off-field issues, or both.
When has any player had two blatant facemask fouls in one game? When has a quarterback ever had one? It’s one of the original safety rules, dating back to long before the years when the NFL downplayed and denied the risks of concussions.
Even a minor grab and tug of a face mask gets penalized and fined. Watson took it to the next level, twice, throwing players down to the turf.
Then there was Watson’s shove of an official during the scrum that broke out after his first facemask penalty. (And, yes, it was a shove.) Contact with an official always requires ejection. It could, coupled with everything else, result in a suspension — in theory.
Would the NFL suspend a franchise quarterback (or at least a quarterback who is paid like one)? The officials might have looked the other way when he should have been ejected. Will the powers-that-be be influenced by his status and importance to his team and the game in fashioning a penalty?
Whatever happens, someone needs to calm him down. Something got under his skin last night, and it stayed there. Future opponents will surely try to replicate that, each and every week, until he shows that it’s not frustrating him.