The Cleveland Browns, coming off a two-game win streak, lost to the Houston Texans, 29-13, in Houston. Cleveland fell down to a big early deficit in the game, but the team, especially quarterback Baker Mayfield, showed some resolve to make it somewhat of a game in the second half. Cleveland was given a reality check of sorts with this loss, but it also gave a lot of revelations about the team. In the end, though, the Browns came up short.
The first half was a disaster for the Browns. Mayfield had his worst half of his professional career. He was 5 of 13 for 46 yards and three interceptions. The Browns offense was shutout, while the Texans did anything they wanted against the Browns defense. In the half, the Texans outgained the Browns 262 total yards to just 74 total yards for Cleveland. Houston controlled the clock with the Texans holding the ball for over 21 minutes of the 30-minute half. Cleveland got a big reality check in the first half, showing that Houston was a whole another level of opponent from their previous two games. At the half, the Browns trailed the Texans, 23-0.
The third quarter was a wild rollercoaster of a ride. The Browns started the half with a nice 75-yard touchdown drive. But, the Browns defense could not hold the Texans on the ensuing drive, allowing another field goal. Then, came the wildest sequence of the game. Mayfield connected with wide receiver Antonio Callaway for a 76-yard touchdown pass, but it was negated by a holding penalty. Two plays later, the duo connected on another long pass, but Callaway fumbled the ball on the two-yard line. So, at the end of the third quarter, the Browns still trailed 26-7.
The fourth quarter had some really promising moments for the Browns, especially on offense. Mayfield threw some amazing passes, but in the end, the game was too far out of hand for the Browns to come back. Cleveland fell to Houston, 29-13
Baker Mayfield had a game of two halves and it was a game that really showed his resolve. In the first half, Mayfield was 5 of 13 for 46 yards and three interceptions. He struggled against the Texans defense in the first half. But, Mayfield did not stay down. In the second half, Mayfield was excellent, showing that nothing will faze the young rookie. He finished the game 29 of 43 for 397 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. His performance in the second half gave me so much hope for the future that he is the guy to lead this team at quarterback. Here is the touchdown pass Mayfield had in the second half.
The Browns were devastated by turnovers. The Browns gave the ball away four times and turned it over on downs twice. The first half especially saw turnovers change the game and put Houston up big early. In the second half, the Browns got some momentum, but a fumble and a turnover on downs stalled their hopes. Here is the pick-six that Mayfield threw in the first half.
Another factor that hurt the Browns was the big penalties the team suffered at the worst times. In total, the Browns were called for six penalties for 45 yards. But, these penalties were in big moments of the game. One holding penalty negated a long touchdown pass, while an offside penalty negated a successful onside kick attempt.
Antonio Callaway had a wild up and down game. He finished with three catches for 84 yards and a fumble, but he also had a big 76-yard touchdown catch taken away by a holding penalty. He made some big plays, but a couple of the plays ended up going against he and the Browns. It is a learning game for Callaway, but also a game that showed how much potential he has at wide receiver. Here is the play of the game where Callaway made a great catch and run, but was unable to finish off the play, fumbling at the two-yard line to wash away what could have been a game changing play.
This loss to the Texans was a game of lessons. The Browns learned a lot about their team, both good and bad. It was a reality check for the Browns against the Houston Texans. Check back on Tuesday to see what I thought were the big lessons from the game.