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Game Balls: 4 standouts who helped lead the Browns to a Week 13 victory

The Browns received big contributions from their defense and special teams to pick up the win


The Browns won, 27-14, over the Texans on Sunday at NRG Stadium, and we're dishing out another round of game balls to highlight the players who helped Cleveland secure its fifth win of the season.

LB Tony Fields

No Browns player had more game-changing plays than Fields, a 2021 fifth-round pick who has seen his snap count rise in recent weeks and might've carved himself an even bigger role Sunday.

His first big play was a strip against QB Kyle Allen when the Texans were pinned inside their own 1. Fields popped the ball loose as Allen dove forward on a QB sneak, and the ball rolled right to CB Denzel Ward, who scooped it and had an easy walk-in for the touchdown.

"I just hit the ball out and hoped for the best," Fields said. "Any time a quarterback dives with the ball out, you gotta hit it."

A couple drives later, Fields was in perfect position to snag an Allen pass that was tipped by DE Chase Winovich. He caught it at Houston's 16-yard line and had an easy jog into the end zone to secure both his first career interception and touchdown.

Fields' third and final big play happened on special teams in the fourth quarter when he recovered a fumble on a punt return from Desmond King. With the Browns already up 16 points, the recovery felt like the final stamp on the win and capped a career day for Fields.

"Every game is about playing complementary football," he said. "Sometimes another man has to step up, next man up, and today was my day. I took that chance."

WR Donovan Peoples-Jones

Peoples-Jones' 76-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter scored the Browns' first points of the game and highlighted the remarkable growth he's shown as a returner.

Peoples-Jones' value has been trending upwards all season with his contributions as a receiver — he's already caught a career-high 68 receptions and 637 receiving yards — and it's continued to increase with what he's shown as a punt returner the last two weeks. A week ago against the Buccaneers, Peoples-Jones totaled five returns for 75 yards (15 yards per return), including an impressive 29-yard return.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski said he knew Peoples-Jones was close to finding a big one after the game, and he was right.

"He's been outstanding, which shouldn't surprise you with Donovan," he said. "He was close on a few, but I feel he's getting north-south. The whole team did a great job on that return to give him a seam, and on this turf he was moving there. He did a really nice job. He continues to help this team win on offense."

S John Johnson III

The Browns defense tallied a season-high three takeaways, and the first of the bunch came from Johnson on the first play of the game in impressive fashion.

The Browns were holding their breath first after Allen rolled to his right and fired a deep ball to TE Teagan Quitoriano, but the ball bounced up in the air as Quitoriano dove to the turf in attempt to bring it in, and Johnson grabbed it as he neared the sideline and made a toe-tap catch.

The interception was Johnson's first of the season and fourth in the last two seasons with Cleveland and kickstarted a day full of takeaways from the defense.

"It's a day when we needed it," DE Myles Garrett said. "We weren't clicking on all phases … We needed those takeaways to really separate the score for us."

K Cade York

After missing field goals in the last two weeks, York got back on track with two field goals from beyond 40 yards and connected on all three of his extra-point attempts. His field goals from 43 and 42 yards were the only points the Browns were able to manage on offensive drives in the game, but it was good to see York steady himself with two mid-range field-goals.

York, a fourth-round rookie from LSU, has converted 19 of 25 field-goal opportunities this season and 5-for-6 from kicks between 40-49 yards. He's also 4-for-7 on kicks from 50 or more yards.