Cleveland's offense was shut out in the first half as QB Josh McCown threw a pick six to CB Aqib Talib, giving the Broncos a 10-0 lead heading into the third quarter. The offense finally found their footing on the first drive of the second half, with McCown hitting TE Gary Barnidge for an 11-yard touchdown pass to make it a 10-7 game. The Broncos tacked on a field goal at the end of the third quarter to make it 13-7, and then another one at the beginning of the fourth quarter to make it 16-7.
With under ten minutes to play, the pace of the game changed completely. McCown hit Barnidge for a 14-yard touchdown pass with 9:20 to play in the game, making it a 16-14 game. A minute later, ILB Karlos Dansby picked off QB Peyton Manning and walked the tightrope on the sideline for a 35-yard return touchdown.
In a decision that loomed large on the outcome of the game, with the touchdown putting Cleveland up 20-16, the Browns decided to go for a two-point conversion. In some cases, you want the six-point lead to prevent two field goals, but there were only 8 minutes left in the game. The extra point would've given the Browns a 5-point lead, and if Denver scored a touchdown (and failed on their two-point attempt), a field goal could've won it for Cleveland. The Browns missed the two-point try, and sure enough, on Denver's next offensive possession, Manning hit WR Emmanuel Sanders on a 75-yard catch-and-run to give Denver a 23-20 lead.
The Browns had the ball in the red zone with under two minutes to play in the fourth quarter, but couldn't punch it in the end zone. They settled for a 26-yard field goal to tie the game at 23-23 with 1:32 to play. Denver then went three-and-out, and the Browns had a short field to work with and three timeouts in their back pocket. Facing pressure on a 2nd-and-10 and 46 yards away from the end zone, McCown inexplicably heaved the ball past the first down marker on the left sideline, and the pass was intercepted by Denver. The game eventually went to overtime.
On the Broncos' first drive of overtime, Manning was intercepted on third down by OLB Barkevious Mingo. The Browns had the ball 39 yards away from the end zone -- from that point, it would've been a 56-yard field goal attempt for K Travis Coons. On first down, the Browns pitched the ball to RB Robert Turbin, who bobbled the ball in the backfield. That killed the play, and Turbin was dropped for a loss of 3 yards. McCown was then sacked on back-to-back plays, and Cleveland had to punt.
Return-man Jordan Norwood muffed the punt inside his 15 yard line, but fell back on top of the ball. The Broncos then wore out the Browns via their ground game and got in range for a game-winning field goal attempt by K Brandon McManus, which he connected on from 34 yards. The Browns fell to 2-4, and the Broncos are now 6-0.
Quick Hitter Stats
- QB Josh McCown: 20-of-39 (51.3%), 213 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT, 1 fumble.
- WR Travis Benjamin: 9 catches, 117 yards.
- TE Gary Barnidge: 3 catches, 39 yards, 2 TDs.
- ILB Karlos Dansby: 7 tackles, 2 INTs (1 pick six).
- QB Peyton Manning: 26-of-48 (54.2%), 290 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT.