Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson had a rough Monday. He could also have a rough Tuesday.
Watson committed not one but two heinous 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 PFT liveWatson appeared to be frustrated — either by not being able to run away from pursuing defenders, or by what opponents are telling him about his off-field issues, or both.
When has a player had two flagrant mask fouls in one game? When has a quarterback ever had one? It’s one of the original safety rules that dates back to the years when the NFL downplayed and denied the risks of concussions.
Even a small grab and pull on the face mask is punished and fined. Watson took it to the next level twice, knocking players to the turf.
Then there was Watson’s shoving of an official during the scrum that broke out after his first masking penalty. (And yes, it was a push.) Contact the official always requires ejection. It could lead to a suspension along with everything else – in theory.
Would the NFL suspend a franchise quarterback (or at least a quarterback who is paid that way)? Officials may have looked the other way when he was about to be fired. Will the powers that be be swayed by his position and importance to the team and the game in creating a penalty?
No matter what happens, someone has to calm him down. Something got under his skin last night and it stayed there. Future opponents will surely try to repeat this every week until he shows that it doesn’t frustrate him.