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Titans edge Browns in overtime

Posted Oct 22, 2017

Plucky defensive effort unable to lift Cleveland to first win


CLEVELAND — A plucky effort by the Browns wasn’t enough to lift them to their first victory of 2017.

Cleveland rallied past a late deficit thanks to a stingy defense before falling to the Titans in overtime, 12-9, Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Kicker Ryan Succop knocked down a 47-yard field goal with 1:55 remaining in the extra period in a game where he connected on 4 of 5 attempts.

The Browns, who fell to 0-7 for the second consecutive season, did not allow a touchdown and held Tennessee to a 75 yards rushing but were ultimately undone again by self-inflicted wounds.

Cody Kessler, who relieved starting rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer shortly after halftime, helped engineer a 10-play, 31-yard drive that ended when rookie kicker Zane Gonzalez knocked down a game-tying 54-yard field goal with 51 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Kessler, who started eight games as a rookie in 2016, passed for 121 yards passing and an interception on 10 of 21 attempts.

Meanwhile, the Browns defense — who lamented miscommunications and miscues earlier in the week following a loss to Houston — held Tennessee to 269 total yards, 0-for-2 in the red zone and 5-of-17 on third down.

Perhaps their biggest stop of the day came when they stuffed bruising Tennessee running back Derrick Henry on 4th-and-goal early in the third quarter while trailing 6-3.

They did all of this playing without injured starters cornerback Jason McCourty (who’s been arguably the team’s best defenders through six games) and rookie safety Jabrill Peppers, who has been nursing a nagging toe injury. McCourty, who spent his first eight NFL seasons with the Titans, suffered an ankle injury in Thursday’s practice. 

As has been the case this season, however, the young Browns watched self-inflicted wounds once again undo them in a close game decided in the final minutes. Cleveland committed three turnovers and had 12 penalties.

Kizer, who has started six of seven games, accounted for two of those giveaways and was pulled from action after the first series of the second half. In his return to the field, Kizer passed for 114 yards on 12-of-20 attempts but tossed interceptions on back-to-back drives. 

Joe Thomas injured

Browns left tackle Joe Thomas left the game with a triceps injury midway through the third quarter. He did not return.

Thomas, the 10-time Pro Bowler drafted by Cleveland in 2007, played in 10,363 consecutive snaps before the injury, a streak that spanned 11 seasons and 167 games.

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