DENVER, Colorado -- The Cleveland Browns fell to the Denver Broncos, 24-19, on Sunday at Empower Field at Mile High, dropping their record to 2-6 on the season.
In a game filled with Browns field goals, they fell short on the scoreboard. Here are the six plays that changed the game.
1. Brandon Allen’s consecutive passes to Courtland Sutton
After a slow start for each side, first-time starter Brandon Allen heated up by relying on his best remaining target, receiver Courtland Sutton. On third down, Allen found Sutton on a hard slant run underneath soft coverage for a first down. He went to Sutton again on the very next play, lofting a ball up to the big-bodied second-year receiver from SMU. Browns corner Denzel Ward had inside position on Sutton, but the 6-foot-4, 215-pound wideout jumped over Ward to catch the ball for the game’s first score.
2. Noah Fant’s 75-yard touchdown reception
The Browns responded to the Broncos’ scoring drive with three points of their own, but quickly found themselves down 14-3 after rookie tight end Noah Fant made perhaps the best play of his young career. Streaking across the middle of the field, Fant hauled in a pass from Allen, ran over Browns safety Jermaine Whitehead, then ran through a couple of arm tackle attempts and rumbled the rest of the way down the left sideline for a Broncos touchdown. The score put Denver ahead, 14-3, creating an early hole for the Browns.
3. Joe Schobert forces fumble
The Browns again followed with a field goal to make it 14-6 but needed a game-changing play. They got one from linebacker Joe Schobert, who stripped Broncos receiver Diontae Spencer after a short reception. Ward recovered the fumble at the Broncos’ 24, setting up the Browns for an attempt at trimming Denver’s lead.
The ensuing possession resulted in a field goal after a second-down pass was caught by Demetrius Harris out of bounds, and the Browns couldn’t find the end zone on third down. In all, the change in possession netted the Browns three points.
Check out photos of the Browns against the Broncos
4. Browns turn ball over on downs inside Denver’s 10
On their second possession of the second half, the Browns moved inside Denver’s 10, and after settling for four field goals, they decided to be aggressive on fourth down. Baker Mayfield lunged forward with the ball and appeared to pass the line to gain, but a disadvantageous spot left the Browns short after measurement. Head coach Freddie Kitchens challenged the spot, but cameras didn’t catch a definitive angle of the play. The initial spot stood, and the Broncos took over on downs.
5. Phillip Lindsay’s 30-yard touchdown run
Denver immediately responded to the Browns’ turnover with a well-paced offensive drive, covering 95 yards in seven plays, culminating in Phillip Lindsay’s 30-yard touchdown run. The play, a misdirection run between the tackles, put the Broncos ahead 24-12.
6. Mayfield to Beckham for 27 yards
This play breathed life into the Browns, even if it ultimately wasn’t enough to produce a win. Facing second-and-6, Mayfield received the snap, turned to his right and fired a pass to Odell Beckham Jr., who snagged it out of the air over the hands of Broncos corner Chris Harris Jr., and then took off for a gain that totaled 27 yards and put the Browns in Denver territory.
Four plays later, Mayfield found Jarvis Landry for a 9-yard touchdown pass to bring the score to 24-19, which was as close as the Browns would get before their final possession ended in a turnover on downs at the Denver 28.