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Biggest Plays

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6 plays that mattered most in the Browns' win over the Titans

The Browns needed only 30 minutes Sunday to make history against the Tennessee Titans.

In that time, quarterback Baker Mayfield played two of the best quarters of his career, and the Browns offense surged through the Titans for the most successful first half of football Cleveland has ever played. That led to the Browns' 41-35 win at Nissan Stadium and clinched their ninth win of the season.

Both sides of the ball made big plays all afternoon. Here were the ones that mattered most in a thrilling afternoon in Nashville.

1. Mayfield, Landry team up for touchdown after trick play

Mayfield and Jarvis Landry had already cracked the highlight reel before they connected for the Browns' first touchdown of the afternoon.

On third-and-2 from Tennessee's 30-yard line, Landry took a toss from running back Nick Chubb and geared up for a throw to Mayfield, who was running uncovered to the first-down marker on the left sideline after he originally tossed the ball to Chubb.

Landry lobbed a pass to Mayfield, who leaped and made a terrific catch to secure the first down. The Browns, however, got another 15 yards after Landry took a roughing the passer penalty from the Titans defense.

That set Cleveland up at the 12-yard line. Four plays later, Mayfield and Landry connected again. This time, Mayfield was the passer, and he threw a strike to Landry's chest as he found a hole in the back of the end zone.

Touchdown Browns, who took an early 10-0 lead and weren't done with their first quarter dominance.

2. Lamm stuns Titans with touchdown catch

Coach Kevin Stefanski did not hold anything back in his play calling early in Nashville.

On the second drive of the game, wide receiver Jarvis Landry threw a pass to Mayfield for a first down on a drive that eventually led to their touchdown. Stefanski had more tricks up his sleeve on the next drive, too, when the Browns lined up for third-and-goal from Tennessee's 1-yard line.

The play originally appeared to be a handoff to Nick Chubb. The entire offensive line pushed forward as if Chubb had the ball. Instead, Mayfield kept it, rolled back and looked at a single receiver to target.

This receiver, though, had only caught one NFL pass before. Kendall Lamm, who was the left tackle on the play but checked in as an eligible receiver, sprung loose and ran to the back of the end zone. No defender picked him up, so all Mayfield needed to do was lob an easy pass his way.

Lamm made the catch, his first since he caught a 7-yard pass with the Houston Texans in 2015, and was mobbed by the rest of the offense. The Browns took a 17-0 lead in special fashion, and the offense was humming at a near-perfect pace.

3. Peoples-Jones catches deep strike from Mayfield for 75-yard score

Twelve completions. 186 yards. Three touchdowns.

Those were the numbers Mayfield had Sunday after just 17 minutes. And the last completion was his longest of the season — a 75-yard bomb to the hands of rookie wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, who sprinted past the Titans' secondary and had plenty of time to make the catch and race to the end zone for his second touchdown of the season.

Mayfield's throws were on target all afternoon, and no completion was longer than his pass to Peoples-Jones, which came on the first play from scrimmage after the Titans scored their first touchdown of the game.

But guess what? The offense wasn't done in the first half yet.

4. Mayfield throws fourth TD of the half to Higgins

Mayfield's first half became historic on just his 17th completion.

The pass went to wide receiver Rashard Higgins, who won his one-on-one battle against defensive back Breon Borders and made an over-the-shoulder 17-yard catch to secure Mayfield's fourth touchdown of the half. Higgins broke out his red-carpet celebration to commemorate his third touchdown of the season, but for Mayfield, the moment was even more special.

No NFL quarterback had thrown four touchdowns in the first half since Patrick Mahomes in Week 2 of 2019, and no Browns quarterback had accomplished the feat since Hall of Famer Otto Graham in 1951. That's special territory, and the score padded the Browns' lead to 31-7.

But more history was going to be made soon.

5. Chubb scores touchdown for most 1st-half points in franchise history

The possibilities seemed endless when the Browns moved the ball down to the Titans' red zone yet again with over a minute left in the half.

Would Mayfield throw his fifth touchdown pass of the half? Would Stefanski break out another trick play? Would the running backs break through for their first score?

Mayfield almost had his shot at touchdown No. 5 — he made two pass attempts inside the 20-yard line — but in the end, the call was for Chubb. He took the handoff and broke the plane to give the Browns another six points, and after the successful PAT from Cody Parkey, the Browns had reached historic grounds.

Their 38 first-half points were the highest total in franchise history. They came after an unforgettable performance from Mayfield, his receivers and Stefanski, who picked the Titans' defense apart with terrific play calling.

6. Stewart spoils Titans red zone drive with interception

The Browns' biggest exhale of the game came with 15 seconds left in the third quarter.

With a 41-21 lead, Cleveland's defense was hoping to hang on as Tennessee inched its way into the red zone after Tannehill orchestrated a series of clutch passes to move the chains. The Titans had the ball at the Browns' 17-yard line, and a touchdown would've made what was once a 31-point deficit into just 13 points.

But the Browns' secondary shut down the threat. They swarmed around Brown when Tannehill threw a first-down pass his way. The ball caromed off his arms and was snagged by cornerback M.J. Stewart Jr. for his first NFL interception. The defense pulled through for its third turnover of the game, and the interception took away what could've been a key drive for the Titans.

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