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3 Big Takeaways: Dorian Thompson-Robinson stacks another big night in 1st preseason start

DTR — as well as WR Austin Watkins and LB Mohamoud Diabate — all continued to build on already-strong preseason efforts


The Browns tied their first road preseason game with the Eagles on Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field 18-18.

Here are three takeaways from the night.

1. DTR continues to shine

Thompson-Robinson has been the talk of the preseason with his stellar play, and he continued to create more noise Thursday night.

Thompson-Robinson, a fifth-round rookie from UCLA, got his first start of the preseason and played the entire first half. In his first drive of the day, Thompson-Robinson and the offense marched down the field on a 12-play, 81-yard drive.

The drive unfortunately ended with a fumble from RB John Kelly Jr. near the goal-line, but Thompson-Robinson still showed a strong ability to command the pocket and deliver crisp throws.

" I love the kid effort," Kevin Stefanski said. "I love his feistiness."

Thompson-Robinson finished the day completing 13 of 25 passes for 164 yards with no interceptions. He also flashed deep ball accuracy, completing a 36-yard bomb to WR Cedric Tillman and completions of 27 and 22 yards to WR Austin Watkins.

Check out photos of the Browns against the Eagles

2. The defense caused havoc all game

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and the Browns defense built perhaps their best performance of the preseason thus far, blitzing the Eagles for six sacks, one forced fumble and one interception.

LB Mohamoud Diabate made plays all over the field in the first half. He led the Browns with six tackles and made a crucial play by tackling RB Kenneth Gainwell in the end zone on the first drive of the game for a safety. In the second quarter, he caused a fumble on RB Trey Sermon, which allowed CB Cam Mitchell to recover the ball. The next drive resulted in a field goal.

"I thought he was very active," Kevin Stefanski said. "he flies around the field. "He did a great job ball searching. He brings a ton of energy and brought that all 60 minutes."

S Ronnie Hickman got his third pick in two games when he picked off QB Marcus Mariota in the first quarter. Hickman left the game in the second quarter due to concussion protocol.

3. Austin Watkins lights out again

Watkins had been a star player in the first two preseason games, and he delivered his best game yet to pace the Browns' pass game.

Watkins finished the day with seven catches for 139 yards and a touchdown, including two great catches in the second half. He caught a 23-yard pass from QB Kellen Mond in the third quarter and then caught a 32-yard touchdown pass down the right side three plays later, winning the contested catch between two defenders and taking advantage of a clear path to the end zone.

"He did a nice job," Stefanski said. "With receivers it's can you get open and can you go make a play when the ball is in the air. He did both. Was really pleased with his effort he is very competitive."

Watkins has led Browns receivers in receiving yards in all three preseason games and has totaled 245 yards in the preseason, building an enticing case to potentially crack a spot on the 53-man roster despite playing in a crowded wide receiver room.

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