The Cleveland Browns are officially off to their worst start since 1999, dropping to 0-6 on the year after a 28-26 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Yet again, Cleveland’s defense allowed an opening-drive touchdown to an opposing team. Things were sour from the get-go, as Titans QB Marcus Mariota took off for 41 yards. He finished the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass to WR Rishard Matthews to give them a 7-0 lead.
The Browns closed out the first quarter with some positive drives on offense. The lack of a running game prevented the drives from being extended, though, so they settled for 45- and 37-yard field goals from K Cody Parkey to make it a 7-6 game.
Near the beginning of the second quarter, Mariota found WR Kendall Wright wide open for a 48-yard touchdown pass. S Derrick Kindred was lost on the play, and Wright made a diving catch that had the wind knocked out of him. He was still able to get up and tumble into the end zone to make it a 14-6 game.
Gorgeous.— NFL (@NFL) October 16, 2016
Mariota goes DEEP.
And Kendall Wright makes one of the best grabs you'll see all day. https://t.co/lcwgExjtaZ
The Browns’ best drive of the game came to close out the first half. QB Cody Kessler improvised to find WR Ricardo Louis for a big 43-yard catch-and-run, and then Kessler finished the drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to WR Terrelle Pryor in double coverage. The Titans tried a 58-yard field goal to end the half, but missed, keeping it a 14-13 Titans lead.
Cleveland got the ball to begin the second half, but right away they had a facemask penalty on C Cameron Erving to set them back and kill the drive before it could even start. When the Titans got the ball, they re-found their rhythm on offense. A big play to WR Rishard Matthews for 43 yards helped set up RB DeMarco Murray’s 3-yard touchdown plunge to make it a 21-13 game.
After the Browns’ offense could do nothing, the defense came up with a big play to start the fourth quarter when Mariota was picked off by CB Tramon Williams, giving Cleveland the ball 60 yards away from the end zone. Kessler was sacked on first down, though, and Louis dropped a well-thrown pass on third down that would’ve moved the chains.
Tennessee seemed to put the nail in the coffin with a 12-play, 80-yard drive that ate up seven minutes of click, leading to a 15-yard touchdown pass to TE Anthony Fasano. That gave them a 28-13 lead with under seven minutes to go in the game.
Kessler led the Browns down the field for a touchdown drive, converting a couple of fourth downs, and finishing it with a 5-yard strike to Pryor to make it a 28-19 game. The two-point try was no good, so with 2:07 to play, things looked gloomy. The Browns recovered an onside kick, though, and drove down the field to score another touchdown with 0:27 left (it came via a 1-yard run by RB Duke Johnson). The extra point made it a 28-26 game.
Then, it all came down to another onside kick attempt, but Cleveland couldn’t recover it this time.
- QB Cody Kessler: 26-of-41 for 336 yards, 2 TD.
- The Browns had just 40 total yards rushing.
- WR Terrelle Pryor: 9 catches for 75 yards, 2 TD. He also ran once for three yards, and completed one pass for one yard.
- NT Danny Shelton and OLB Emmanuel Ogbah each logged their first sacks of the season.
- The Titans got to Kessler for six sacks, as the rookie quarterback was under heavy pressure all game.
- Excluding the quarterback runs, the defense did a fine job stopping running backs again. RB DeMarco Murray had 21 carries, but for just 65 yards (3.09 YPC).