When Deshaun Watson wasn’t giving away free points to the Steelers on Monday, he found time to shove a referee.
Watson did so while attempting to confront the Steelers’ coaches and players during the second half of the 26-22 loss in Pittsburgh.
The struggling Browns quarterback did not get flagged for his shove, although the referees easily could have hit him with a penalty and even ejected him.
It’s possible Watson could still face a potential penalty for his actions, with a source telling Pro Football Talk: “All plays will be evaluated and assessed today.”
Watson’s shove came with 5:01 remaining in the third quarter with the Browns ahead, 22-19.
The mobile quarterback scrambled on a second-and-10 play at the Browns’ 49-yard-line and got flagged for unnecessary roughness for not letting go of Kwon Alexander’s facemask as he rushed out of bounds.
ESPN analyst Joe Buck said Alexander was “sent into the bench.”
That play irritated the Steelers’ sideline and Watson started chirping back, which prompted the referees to attempt to break up the fracas.
Watson pointed at the sideline and when a referee got in his way, he shoved him to his left to continue voicing his displeasure.
Browns offensive lineman Ethan Pocic and tight end David Njoku went over to Watson to drag him away from the situation right after the shove.
While Watson avoided being ejected, that 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness all but ended a potentially promising drive in what proved to be a tough loss for the Browns.
And it’s fair to blame Watson for the defeat.
Watson threw a pick-six on the first play of the game to put the Browns in an immediate 7-0 hole, and his fumble on a sack resulted in a Steelers touchdown that gave Pittsburgh a 26-22 lead with 6:58 remaining in the fourth quarter that Pittsburgh did not relinquish.
He finished 22-of-40 for 235 passing yards with one touchdown and one interception.
The early returns on Watson this season have not been promising with the quarterback throwing for 389 yards and two touchdowns, while also hurling two interceptions.
The Browns survived his mediocre play in their 24-3 win over the Bengals in Week 1, but they could not overcome his errors Monday in a deflating loss.
More of the burden will now fall on Watson’s arm and feet with Nick Chubb sidelined for the rest of the season after suffering a gruesome knee injury Monday.
Cleveland will attempt to rebound at home in Week 3 against the Titans.