Analyzing four key moments from the Browns’ 27-21 overtime loss to the Packers…
- Cleveland’s response to a Green Bay opening-drive touchdown was immediate on what must be considered the best opening drive of DeShone Kizer’s career.
The rookie quarterback connected right away with Josh Gordon on a 38-yard pass across the middle. Faced with a third-and-5, Kizer evaded the rush and scrambled for a first down. Two plays later, Kizer trusted his playmaker and threw in traffic toward the middle of the end zone. Gordon nabbed it out of the air for his first touchdown since 2013 to tie the score.
Gordon donned a pair of sunglasses on the sidelines to further fire up the fans who battled through cold and windy conditions from start to finish.
- Cleveland took the lead midway through the second quarter thanks to two big plays on third down. They extended their lead to double digits with a defensive stand and power running in the third.
The Browns got rolling with a big catch by Corey Coleman, a 20-yarder that got the team out of trouble on second-and-17. After moving the chains on an Isaiah Crowell 9-yard run, Cleveland got into field goal range when Kizer hit Gordon on a 13-yard slant to convert a third-and-1. On third-and-11 from the 25, Kizer found Coleman again for an 18-yard gain.
The prettiest play call was saved for the touchdown, as Kizer flipped a shovel pass to Duke Johnson Jr. for the 7-yard score, his third receiving touchdown of the season.
Early in the third quarter, as the Packers faced a fourth-and-1 from the Cleveland 10-yard line, Hundley rolled to his right on what appeared to be a broken play. Rookie defensive lineman Caleb Brantley swallowed him up for a loss to give the ball back to the Browns.
Isaiah Crowell’s 18-yard run to start the drive set the tone. The drive-changer came on third-and-1 from the Packers’ 43, when Crowell burst through the line and darted his way down the field for a 37-yard gain.
Cleveland’s first two attempts to crack the end zone were unsuccessful but the third worked like a charm, as Kizer and Coleman brought back Week 1 memories with their 2-yard touchdown connection. Coleman made the catch in traffic and took a hard hit on his way to securing his second touchdown of the season and giving the Browns a 21-7 lead.
The Browns play the Green Bay Packers in Week 14.
- Green Bay got back into the game by picking Cleveland’s defense apart 7 to 8 yards at a time.
The Packers dinked and dunked their way down the field during the late part of the third and early in the fourth, capping a lengthy possession with a 1-yard Jamaal Williams touchdown run to narrow the margin by 7. Still, the Browns held a seven-point lead and had possession of the ball with less than 3 minutes to play.
That’s when the bottom fell out.
On third-and-4 from the 37, Kizer fired a pass to tight end David Njoku, who was initially ruled to have caught the ball for a first down. A replay review, though, revealed the ball hit the ground, and Cleveland was forced to punt. On a day in which the Browns consistently pinned the Packers inside their own 20-yard line, Cleveland surrendered a big return at the worst possible time, as Trevor Davis took it back 65 yards to the Browns’ 25.
Green Bay took its time before knotting the score with 17 seconds left on a Hundley touchdown pass to Davante Adams.
- The Browns had the ball first and an opportunity to win when they opened overtime. And on third-and-2, Kizer thought he had the game-winning play unfolding before him.
Kizer rolled back to his left and was chased by Clay Matthews. Rashard Higgins, his third read on the play, spun away from his man and headed down the middle of the field. As Kizer uncorked a throw, Matthews swatted his arm, popping the ball into the air. Josh Jones grabbed it out of the air to set up Green Bay inside Browns territory.
Already in field goal range, the Packers didn’t leave anything to chance. Hundley hit Adams on a short pass, the wide receiver made a couple of people miss and sprinted into the end zone for the game-winning, 25-yard touchdown.