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Browns QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson shines in comeback win over Jets in Hall of Fame Game

Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson entered Thursday night's Hall of Fame Game in the second half, providing juice to the affair. The fifth-rounder led two scoring drives to lead the Browns' 21-16 comeback win over the New York Jets.

"He made some nice plays," Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said of Thompson-Robinson after the game. "He made some plays with his feet. I felt the route on the touchdown was outstanding. Good read, good throw, had some really good moments."

Thompson-Robinson, a five-year starter at UCLA, displayed poise in the pocket, mobility to create when the play broke down, solid accuracy and enough arm to fit the ball in. He finished 8-of-11 passing for 82 yards with one touchdown pass. He didn't take a sack and finished with a 124.1 passer rating.

"I'm super excited just to have this opportunity," the rookie told NFL Network's Steve Wyche after the game. "Lord knows I worked my butt off to get here, as well as the rest of the guys that I got drafted with. So, I'm just happy to be out there -- be an asset to them -- making sure I'm getting guys in the right spots and doing everything I can to lead the team well also."

DTR took over for Kellen Mond in the third quarter and immediately led the Browns on an 11-play, 88-yard TD drive in which he used his arm and legs to move the chains. The drive was capped off with a Demetric Felton Jr. 16-yard TD run in which Thompson-Robinson threw a key block.

"That's all instincts," Thompson-Robinson said of the block. "I'm out there playing as hard as I can for my teammates. Coach Stefanski and (offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt) always preach to run through the football, even on the offensive side of the ball and being able to pick your brother up, so that's kind of what that was.

"I saw Felt was going to cut back and kind of how the hole was going to open up, and all he had was one person to beat backside, which was the corner. So I figured I'd stick my nose in there real quick."

Two drives later, DTR rifled a dart to Austin Watkins Jr. for a 22-yard touchdown. The rookie said he knew the play would be open after the Browns ran the same play with Mond in the first half.

"Yeah, that's just really coming after watching the first half. Kellen got a few looks that I had gotten in the second half, so, just remembering those and remembering where I can go with the ball and move my eyes to manipulate players," he told Wyche. "I think it's just a part of my growth and a part of my learning process right now."

That's precisely what you want to hear from a rookie quarterback. The ability to see something, digest it and use that information in a game.

Yes, it was a preseason contest -- the first one in which very few regulars participated. Yes, DTR was playing against players who likely won't make the Jets' initial 53-man roster. Yes, it doesn't count for much.


Thompson-Robinson did exactly what you'd want from a late-round rookie quarterback. He walked through those third- and fourth-string defenders. He looked like he belonged.

Many young QBs struggle early in the preseason with a million things flying around. DTR, having started 48 games at UCLA, looked calm and knew where to go with the ball. Obviously, there are things to clean up and fundamental to his game and motion he'll have to develop, but the foundation is there for DTR to earn a gig.

No one is suggesting he's unseating Deshaun Watson next week. No one is suggesting he's even an heir. But DTR showed he can play. Now he has to do it again in the final three games of the preseason to cement his spot on the Browns' roster.

"I hope it did a lot for me," DTR told Wyche, smiling. "I'm hoping for more to come in the future for sure."

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