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Attack on Titans: Browns bounce back 27-3 against Tennessee

Courtesy of the Cleveland Browns
Browns linebacker Sione Takitaki (44) and defensive end Za’Darius Smith (99) celebrate as the team bounces back from last week’s loss to the Steelers.

Sunday, Sept. 24, the Cleveland Browns hosted the Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns Stadium, setting up their first game against each other since 2020.

The scoring began with a 48-yard field goal from Browns kicker Dustin Hopkins. The team traded for Hopkins on Aug. 28 after their previous kicker, Cade York, was waived following preseason struggles. The Titans answered back with a 44-yard field goal from veteran Nick Folk, who tied the game 3-3 with 14 minutes left in the first half.

After receiving the ball back from Tennessee, the Browns embarked on a five-minute, 75-yard drive down the field. Cleveland took a 10-3 lead when quarterback Deshaun Watson connected with running back Jerome Ford on a 19-yard touchdown pass. Ford was named the starting running back following Nick Chubb’s season ending injury last week against Pittsburgh.

The Titans’ offense was shut down yet again after a huge third down sack from Myles Garrett and Ogbo Okoronkwo, giving the Browns the ball back with just a few minutes left in the half. On second-and-nine from their own 35-yard-line, Watson completed a pass to wide receiver Amari Cooper for a 25-yard reception. Cooper broke free from the defender covering him and was likely going to score, but the official erroneously marked Cooper out of bounds.

The official ruling was heavily criticized by Browns fans, as Cooper was nearly a foot away from the sideline. This poor call could have cost the Browns a few points, but Hopkins extended the lead to 10 after knocking in a 52-yard field goal.
The Browns dominated the second half, scoring two touchdowns and forcing the Titans to punt four times after holding them to only 26 yards of total offense. The highlight of the half for Browns fans was a 43-yard strike from Watson to Cooper that resulted in a touchdown. Watson had tried to connect on several deep passes throughout the previous two games and until this point had been noticeably unsuccessful. The Browns finished off the Titans 27-3.

Overall, this game was a huge turnaround for the team after an embarrassing loss last week to Pittsburgh on national television. Coming off of one of his worst performances since joining the team, Watson bounced back with his best so far. After committing three turnovers last week, and much to Browns fans’ delight, Watson completed 27 of 33 passes for 263 yards and two touchdown passes.

More importantly, the Browns’ new defense, led by defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, is living up to their preseason expectations. On Sunday, the Browns sacked Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill five times and held the Titans to a record-low 94 net yards of total offense. The defense managed to contain Titans’ superstar running back Derrick Henry to only 20 yards on 11 carries (1.8 yds/rush). The player of the game was—without a doubt—defensive end Myles Garrett. Garrett, the organization’s all-time sack leader, contributed 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble to the defense’s dominant performance.

After moving to 2-1 on the season, the Browns await the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m.

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