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Browns vs. Texans Final Score: Cleveland’s first half turnovers cost them in 29-13 loss

The Browns’ winning streak comes to an end.

Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Browns had a very ugly first half, which was their demise in a 29-13 loss to the Texans. QB Baker Mayfield struggled with the Texans’ zone coverage in the first half, throwing three interceptions. But he lit them up with deeper throws in the second half, but a few things didn’t go Cleveland’s way to allow for a serious enough of a comeback. The Browns are now 4-7-1 on the season, virtually knocking them out of any wild playoff contention.

The Texans got the ball first and wasted no time driving down the field, but were held to a 35-yard field goal by K Ka’imi Fairbairn to make it a 3-0 game. Cleveland went three-and-out, and then QB Deshaun Watson again made quick work of the Browns — this time throwing an 11-yard touchdown pass to TE Jordan Thomas to take a 10-0 lead — to close out the first quarter.

Mid-way through the second quarter, with QB Baker Mayfield trying to drive the team, his zipped pass over the middle was picked off by LB Zach Cunningham, who was dropping back and got into the passing lane. Not only that, Cunningham returned it all the way for a 37-yard touchdown return, putting Houston up 17-0.

On the Browns’ next drive, Mayfield went deep for WR Antonio Callaway, but he was tackled by CB Kareem Jackson for a pass interference penalty of 47 yards. On the next play, TE David Njoku committed a hold, leading to a 1st-and-20. Then, Mayfield tried to throw downfield again for Callaway, but was picked off by CB Johnathan Joseph, who returned it to 16 yards to near midfield.

Houston capitalized with a 42-yard field goal by Fairbairn to make it a 20-0 game with just over three minutes to go in the first half. Cleveland needed to end the first half with points, but Mayfield chucked the ball deep to the end zone and was intercepted after having been on the border of field goal range. That allowed Houston to tack on one more field goal, making it 23-0 at the half.

Cleveland came out with a response in the second half, taking over five minutes of clock and some good catch-and-runs by RB Nick Chubb to set up a goal-to-go situation. Chubb punched it in from 2 yards out to make it a 23-7 game with 9:39 to go in the third quarter.

A couple of holding penalties on the Browns’ defense extended the Texans’ next drive, allowing them to connect on a 54-yard field goal to make it a 26-7 game with 5:26 left in the third quarter.

There was excitement to start the next drive when Mayfield found WR Antonio Callaway for a 76-yard touchdown pass, but it was called back by a holding penalty on LT Greg Robinson. Two plays later, Mayfield found Callaway again, who broke a tackle and was sprinting again for a 76-yard gain...until he was stripped of the football from behind at the 1 yard line. Houston recovered — and before you blame Callaway, think about how gassed he had to be here.

In the fourth quarter, Mayfield tried attacking downfield; but on the verge of field goal range, turned the ball over on downs with under ten minutes to go. Fairbairn’s 38-yard field goal with under six minutes to go made it a 29-7 game.

Mayfield continued making outstanding second half throws, this time leading to a 17-yard touchdown pass to WR Rashard Higgins to make it a 29-13 game. The two-point conversion was caught, but short of the end zone.

Cleveland actually converted an onside kick, but the officials ruled that TE Darren Fells was offsides. Houston recovered the next attempt and ran the clock down.

Quick Hitters

  • QB Baker Mayfield - 29-of-43 for 397 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT.
  • RB Nick Chubb - 9 carries, 31 yards. 1 TD. 3 catches, 41 yards (3 targets).
  • WR Jarvis Landry - 6 catches, 103 yards (9 targets).
  • No sacks allowed by the Browns for the third straight game.
  • 1.5 sacks for DE Myles Garrett, 1 sack each by DE Emmanuel Ogbah, OLB Genard Avery, and 0.5 sack for MLB Joe Schobert.