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Browns Make Huge Quarterback Change



Steelers Playoff Miami Dolphins New York Jets Joe Flacco
New York Jets quarterback Joe Flacco (19) warms up before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The Cleveland Browns are shaking up their quarterback situation. They released P.J. Walker from the active roster and elevated Joe Flacco. Flacco started last week in their loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Dorian Thompson-Robinson said that he felt good and would likely return for Sunday’s clash with the Jaguars, but head coach Kevin Stefanski started Flacco. Now, it appears that Flacco will be the team’s starter moving forward.

The 38-year-old Flacco wasn’t awful in their game against the Rams, but he threw an interception late in the game, spiraling into a fourth-quarter collapse for Cleveland. That was the turning point of the game. Trailing 20-19 with 6:32 remaining, Flacco’s deep pass intended for Elijah Moore was underthrown and picked off by free safety John Johnson III.

Overall, Flacco completed 23 of 44 passes (52.4%) for 254 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and a quarterback rating of 75.4. Walker replaced Thompson-Robinson after he was injured initially, completing 6 of 13 passes for 56 yards. But Walker struggled throughout the season despite leading the team to a 2-1 record in his starts. He haplessly put the ball in danger whenever he would enter the game, causing the team to move off him and start Thompson-Robinson against the Steelers instead. Now, it appears Flacco is getting the nod over him, too.

Flaccon followed that up with an excellent performance against the Jaguars to catapult the team to an 8-5 record. He threw for 311 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception to lead Cleveland to a 31-27 win. That is an impressive stat line for someone who was not on a roster just weeks ago. Flacco now has the Browns in the driver’s seat as the fifth seed.

Deshaun Watson, the team’s starting quarterback, underwent surgery to repair a broken bone in his right shoulder and will miss the remainder of the 2023 season. Watson suffered the injury during his team’s 33-31 comeback win over the Baltimore Ravens.