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Clutch Players of the Game

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Clutch Performers: 3 standouts who led the Browns to a 20-17 win over the Bears

Joe Flacco, David Njoku and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah were the players of the game


The Browns have won back-to-back games for the third time this season after defeating the Bears 20-17 on Sunday. The Browns scored 13 points in the fourth quarter to lead them to the comeback win after trailing 17-7 and improved to 7-1 at home this season. 

As a result, it's time to recognize three players who contributed with clutch performances.

QB Joe Flacco

After struggling through the first three quarters, QB Joe Flacco's veteran experience pulled through in the fourth quarter. In unfavorable weather conditions, where only two field goals were attempted, Flacco struggled early.

Through the first three quarters, Flacco completed 17 of his 31 attempts for 169 yards and threw one touchdown. He also had three interceptions, one of which was a pick-six for the Bears defense. The Browns found themselves down 17-7 going into the final quarter. That's when Flacco turned the clock back and played great.

With 14:50 left in the fourth quarter, Flacco completed a 57-yard pass to WR Marquise Goodwin. The pass led to a field goal by K Dustin Hopkins, bringing the Browns within one score. Later in the quarter, Flacco threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to WR Amari Cooper with 3:18 left in the game, tying the game at 17-17. 

Then, with 1:50 seconds left, Flacco marched the Browns up the field for a game-winning field goal. The drive was a six-play 63 net-yard drive that resulted in a Hopkins game-winning field goal.

Flacco completed 11 of 13 passes for 212 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions in the fourth quarter. No other NFL quarterback has thrown for over 200 yards in a fourth quarter this season.

"You know what, I think in the moment, you wouldn't think so, but there's had to be games like that that I've played," Flacco said. "We've played so many games, ugly games throughout the first 10-11 years of my career. This was definitely one of them."

Check out photos of the Browns against the Bears in Week 15

TE David Njoku

TE David Njoku is having his best season of his career and added to his stellar play Sunday. He scored two touchdowns last week against the Jaguars and followed up with 10 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown against the Bears.

His performance on Sunday began with a touchdown that he attributed to Flacco's perfect throw. At 3:54 remaining in the first half, the Browns were in possession at the Bears' 2-yard line. On second-and-2, Flacco scrambled toward the right and located Njoku at the back of the end zone. Njoku jumped and came down with both feet in bounds to score a touchdown.

As the game was tied at 17-17, the Browns had possession of the ball with only 1:50 left in the game. They were at their 21-yard line and needed only a field goal to win. On the first play, Flacco made a successful pass to Njoku and gained 31 yards. Three plays later, Flacco connected with Njoku again for a gain of 34 yards, which put the Browns in the range of a field goal.

"Dave is a very confident player," Cooper said. "He does let things like that get to him like any other great player will do. But he always bounces back. He works hard, he comes out with his shirt off to show off his hard work, so he is someone I really respect."

LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah played well Sunday after getting more snaps due to LB Anthony Walker Jr. being sidelined for Sunday's due to injury. He has played 60, 55, 71 and 63 snaps in the last four games. Before that, his highest snap count was in Week 11 with 46. Walker Jr. suffered a hamstring injury in Week 11, which kept him out for Week 12 and limited him in Week 13 with 37 snaps played.

Owusu-Koramoah showed good pursuit and awareness in the Browns' win. On the last play of the first half, Owusu-Koramoah was credited with his first career interception. At the Browns 37-yard line, QB Justin Fields threw a deep pass to the end zone, hoping one of his receivers would catch the ball. However, it was Owusu-Koramoah who came down with the ball for the interception as time expired in the first half.

Later in the fourth quarter, Owusu-Koramoah made an incredible play to get his offense back the ball quicker. With the Browns trailing 17-10 with 6:57 left in the game, Fields and the Bears offense tried to fake out the Browns defense with a play-action call.

Owusu-Koramoah did not fall for the trick and sacked Fields for a loss of eleven yards. The sack put the Bears in third-and-18. Fields threw a pass to RB Roschon Johnson for a gain of 12 yards because Owusu-Koramoah made a tackle in open space. It forced the Bears to punt the ball with 5:25 left in the game.

Owusu-Koramoah finished the game leading the team in tackles with six and had two pass deflections. He also had two tackles for loss and a quarterback hurry.

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