The defensive backs for the Cleveland Browns spent all week preparing how to defend wide receivers A.J. Green and Andrew Hawkins and the practice time resulted in two interceptions that turned into scores in Sunday’s 34-24 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Only one play after the Browns extended their lead to 27-17 with quarterback
Brown’s touchdown gave the Browns a 34-17 lead with 7:50 left in the fourth quarter.
“I’ve seen that route combination once or twice in my career, where the No. 2 goes to the flat,” Brown said. “As a corner, you see No. 1 run a curl. Sometimes, he runs a slant. This particular time, he ran the slant. Dalton threw the ball and it happened to be me there instead of a receiver.
“It was a game where it seemed like everything they ran today was what we practiced during the week. The game was very slow to me and we came out with a win. I’d rather have that, more than anything with the type of game I had.”
Now in his 11th NFL season, Brown played in his 166th consecutive regular-season game on Sunday, which ranks him fifth among all active defensive players. With Sunday’s interception of Dalton, Brown has caught at least one interception in each of his NFL seasons.
Brown now has 24 career interceptions and is tied for the fourth-longest active streak of consecutive seasons with an interception. Green Bay’s Charles Woodson (15 seasons) and Denver’s Champ Bailey (13) rank ahead of Brown, who is tied with Nate Clements of Cincinnati (11) and Baltimore’s Ed Reed (11).
“I was so excited; I felt like I got it,” fellow cornerback
Haden returned to the lineup on Sunday afternoon after serving a league-mandated four-game suspension.
In his return, Haden registered six solo tackles and seven total stops. He ranked second on the team in both categories, but it was what he did in the third quarter that put the Browns in position to draw within a point of the Bengals.
Dalton and the Bengals faced a third-and-seven from their own 23-yard line and the second-year signal-caller took a shotgun snap. Dalton threw the ball over to the right side of the field for A.J. Green, but it was tipped into Haden’s hands.
Haden caught the deflection off Green’s fingertips and returned it 14 yards to Cincinnati’s 25-yard line. Four plays later, kicker
“Getting interceptions, that’s the goal of a DB and I got one and it felt good,” Haden said. “I dropped one too. It hit me in my chest. I felt like a bum, but I came back and got one.
“We were in a cover-two and I was driving back down. I was playing high-to-low and he tipped it tipped into the air and I was coming down to make the tackle. Once it tipped off his hand, I made a play on it. Tipped picks, there’s not much really you can do. It’s just being in the right place at the right time.”
After Haden missed a month of games and practices, his teammates felt he brought energy to the lineup.
“His young energy is really good and you see that,” Brown said. “He’s a guy that when he intercepts a ball can change field position. You have to worry about that and he showed it today, a knack for the ball. Good things happen to good people and good players.”
Haden added, “In practice, everybody was just up, excited. D’Qwell (Jackson) came up to me and said, ‘You brought a spark this week and that’s what we really needed. That’s what I was just trying to do, come out there, make plays and bring energy to the team and just keep it going.”