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Chiefs lead Browns 19-3 at halftime, as fumble at the goal line kills Cleveland

Discuss the 3rd quarter of CLE vs. KC live, as the action unfolds.

Divisional Round - Cleveland Browns v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs lead the Cleveland Browns 19-3 heading to the second half. Here’s how the second quarter went down:

Even the small breaks couldn’t help Cleveland stop Mahomes. He bobbled a snap on first down, leading to only a 1 yard gain. Then, a holding penalty on C Austin Reiter set up 2nd-and-19 at the 20 yard line. It didn’t matter — Mahomes dropped back, and TE Travis Kelce got CB Denzel Ward stumbling out of his shoes with a fake to the outside and cut back inside, as the catch-and-run went for a touchdown. Butker made the extra point this time, putting the Chiefs up 13-3 with 13:48 remaining in the second quarter.

On Cleveland’s second drive, Mayfield got a 23-yard pass near the boundary to WR Donovan Peoples-Jones. After that, some negativity kicked in. Mayfield ripped a nice 17-yard pass to Landry, but it came back off of a holding penalty on RG Wyatt Teller. Then, Chubb dropped back-to-back passes, including a screen pass that appeared to have a lot of daylight in front of him. On third down, Mayfield’s pass was tipped back to himself and he caught it for a loss of 8 yards, leading to a punt.

The Chiefs began their next drive from the 15 yard line. After a couple more first downs, they ended up facing a 2nd-and-23. A 15-yard completion got it to 3rd-and-8, but Mahomes kept it himself for a 13-yard run and a first down. The defense then forced two incompletions to set up a 3rd-and-10 at the 23 yard line. DE Adrian Clayborn got a big hit on a running back screen for a loss of 5 yards. That forced the Chiefs to try a 50-yard field goal, but with the wind in his favor, Butker drilled it to give the Chiefs a 16-3 lead.

With 3:09 left in the half, Cleveland’s blueprint to try getting back in the game was clear: score to end the half, and get the ball to begin the third quarter and score again. Did they execute?

The Browns had another 10-yard penalty — this time offensive pass interference on Peoples-Jones — push them back to a 2nd-and-20. But heading into the two-minute warning, Mayfield found Njoku streaking down the seam for a 26-yard catch to get near midfield.

A few plays later, Mayfield zipped a pass to WR Rashard Higgins to the right side for a gain of 23 yards. And then...the “only in Cleveland” play struck. Mayfield stood in the pocket, and again delivered a strike to Higgins up the right sideline. Higgins caught it, then turned and ran toward the pylon with a defender coming at him. Higgins dove for the pylon, and the defender blasted him — and then the football came out about an inch away from the end zone, and then went through the end zone for a touchback. Kansas City ball. Making matters worse, it was helmet-to-helmet on the hit.

The Chiefs got in range for one more field goal attempt before the end of the half, which Butker made from 28 yards out to give the Chiefs a 19-3 lead at the half. Cleveland will get the ball to begin the third quarter.

VS.

Game: Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Date/Time: Sunday, January 17, 2021 at 3:05 PM ET
Television: CBS - Jim Nantz (play-by-play) & Tony Romo (analyst)
Local Radio: ESPN 850 WKNR, 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 FM WNCX