Game Balls: 4 standouts who helped lead the Browns to a Week 2 victory

The Browns picked up their first win of the season Sunday behind performances from three standout players and — one impactful fanbase

The Browns won, 31-21, on Sunday over the Houston Texans, which means it's time to give away a round of game balls to those who helped Cleveland grab its first win of the season.

Game Ball No. 1: Running back Nick Chubb

Chubb punished the Texans defense with 95 yards on 11 carries and scored the Browns' final touchdown of the afternoon. Those numbers are normal for Chubb, who leads all active NFL players with eight straight games with at least one rushing touchdown, but his performance was even more important following a shoulder injury to quarterback Baker Mayfield in the second quarter.

Mayfield was fine — he didn't miss a snap and completed all 11 of his passing attempts the rest of the game — but head coach Kevin Stefanski admitted the Browns tweaked their plans to ensure he wouldn't take another big hit. Chubb made those adjustments easier to accomplish and helped the Browns put the game away.

Check out photos of the Browns against the Texans in week two

Game Ball No. 2: Running back/wide receiver Demetric Felton

Felton's first-ever career reception couldn't have gone any better.

After receiving a quick dump-off from Mayfield, Felton went into a full sprint and spun his way around a couple of Texans defenders for a 33-yard touchdown. The run was one of the prettiest Browns plays of the game and highlighted why the Browns were thrilled to select Felton in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Felton is a smooth, instinctive runner when the football is in his hands, and it showed on his kick and punt returns, too. He dashed around a few defenders for a 25-yard return on the opening kickoff that set the Browns up at their own 32, and his longest punt return of the day was a 15-yarder.

Expect the Browns to rely on Felton more going forward, especially with top receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, who left the game Sunday on the second play from scrimmage, nursing knee injuries.

Game Ball No. 3: Safety Grant Delpit

After a long, injury-riddled wait, Delpit finally made his NFL debut Sunday — and he did not disappoint.

His biggest plays occurred in the second half when he delivered a thunderous sack and forced fumble to Texans QB Davis Mills, who replaced starting QB Tyrod Taylor to open the second half. That was the biggest highlight for Delpit, a 2020 second-round pick who missed all of his rookie year last season with an Achilles injury, in a day that included five tackles, one quarterback hit and one tackle for a loss. 

Delpit's availability finally allowed defensive coordinator Joe Woods to use dime packages, which place six defensive backs on the field, with a little more frequency. He played in 26 of the defense's 61 snaps and left plenty of evidence to believe he'll be used even more going forward.

Game Ball No. 4: The fans

The 67,895 fans at FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday will have to share one game ball.

It's well deserved after they fulfilled Stefanski's pregame request to be in their seats before kickoff. The stadium was jumping from the start and brought the noise for four quarters, creating an atmosphere the Browns missed after not being able to host a full stadium due to the pandemic for nearly two years.

"I thought the crowd was outstanding and in their seats right at the kickoff," Stefanski said, "so I hope they're back at the Muni Lot already, but nice job. They helped affect the game."

The Browns will need more of that for their next eight home games, starting next Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

Advertising