The Cleveland Browns' path to the NFL playoffs narrowed further as they lost 31-23 to the Buffalo Bills to fall to 3-7 on the season.
Deshaun Watson is set to come off his 11-game suspension in Week 13 against his old team, the Houston Texans. By then, finishing with a winning record might be a challenge for the Browns.
For fans, Sunday was more of the same from a team that has problems far bigger than Watson alone can solve.
The gap between the Browns offense on its first drive and the rest of the game is one such issue that recurs almost every week.
Cleveland marched 75 yards on nine plays to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. After Amari Cooper's 25-yard touchdown catch, it was all downhill from there. When the unit added a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, the outcome was already clear.
Fans can't even console themselves by looking ahead to the draft and envisioning how the right first-round pick can help the franchise turn the corner. The Browns owe their 2023 and 2024 first-rounders to the Texans because of the Watson trade.
Watson's debut is the only source of optimism left for the organization, which is mostly about laying the groundwork for 2023 rather than salvaging this year.