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Postgame Recap

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QB Joe Flacco and WR Amari Cooper dominate Texans through the air for Browns' 10th win of the season

Browns notch their 3rd straight victory

Postgsame Week 16

While the Browns' hopes of clinching a playoff berth on this particular weekend dissolved before they took the field, they added a critical 10th win Sunday as they beat the Texans. 36-22.

And they did so in a commanding fashion through the air. Veteran QB Joe Flacco continued to excel in the passing game, connecting with WR Amari Cooper from the opening drive to their final play of the game together in the fourth quarter. Cooper became the Browns' all-time, single-game leader in receiving yards with his play on Sunday.

The Browns are now 10-5 on the season.

Key Moments:

The Browns offense capped off an exceptional day in the passing game with a two-point conversion pass attempt from Flacco to Cooper to give the Browns their 36-7 lead after RB Kareem Hunt rushed 1 yard for the team's fifth touchdown of the day. As they fought through adversity losing K Dustin Hopkins to a hamstring injury, the Browns had to turn to two-point conversions following touchdowns, and they found ways to convert those attempts.

However, the Browns defense saw a bit of a slip in the fourth quarter, as they allowed back-to-back scores for the Texans. Houston had a successful onside kick with 6:11 left in the fourth quarter following a touchdown. The recovery of the onside kick led to another offensive drive from the Texans, and eventually to their second touchdown of the quarter with 4:15 left in the game. After only allowing the Texans to score a 98-yard touchdown on a kickoff return, the Browns defense gave up 15 points in the fourth quarter alone.

The Browns defense did have some key defensive stops and plays throughout the game. With less than 2 minutes left in the third quarter, S Duron Harmon picked off QB Case Keenum's pass his second interception of the day. The other came in the final 30 seconds of the first half on a first-and-10 when DT Shelby Harris got his hand on the ball to deflect a Keenum pass that was ultimately intercepted by LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

The passing game led the way for the Browns offense. Flacco connected with Cooper in the third quarter for a 7-yard pass in the end zone to give the Browns a 28-7 lead.

Flacco also connected twice with Cooper for deep passes in the first half. In the second quarter, Flacco connected with Cooper on a 75-yard touchdown pass. On the opening drive of the game, Flacco threw a 53-yard pass to Cooper. A few plays later, RB Jerome Ford took a direct snap and ran for 4 yards into the end zone for the touchdown.

Flacco also connected with TE David Njoku later in the second quarter on a 21-yard pass for the touchdown. The Browns then went for the two-point conversion, which rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson kept the ball and ran into the end zone for the successful conversion and gave the Browns a comfortable 22-7 lead.

Players of the Game:

Joe Flacco

Flacco threw for over 300 yards for his third consecutive game. He finished Sunday's game completing 27-of-42 passes for 368 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Amari Cooper

It was a day of accolades for Cooper.

The Flacco-to-Cooper connection paid off throughout Sunday's game, as Flacco found Cooper for two touchdowns on the day. Cooper was targeted 15 times throughout the game, and he finished the game with 265 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 11 receptions. His 265 yards broke a Browns single-game record.

Cooper also passed the 1,000-yard mark on the opening drive of the game with a 53-yard pass. Cooper has back-to-back 1,000-plus yard seasons and is the first player in Browns' history to have back-to-back seasons of 1,000 receiving yards. Cooper has 1,250 total receiving yards this season after Sunday's game.

Stat of the Game:

The Browns finished the game with 418 total net yards compared to 250 total net yards from the Texans.

What does it mean?

While the Browns were not able to clinch a playoff berth during Week 16, their win over the Texans is important, nonetheless. They reached 10 wins on the season, the first time since the 2020 season – which was also the last time the Browns went to the playoffs. In that 2020 season, the Browns won their 10th game during Week 15 against the Giants.

It was also a small step forward for their road play, as they collected their third road win. The Browns have dealt with struggles on the road, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Up until the fourth quarter, the defense displayed a level of dominance similar to what they had shown at home. The defensive slip came with a number of backups in as the game appeared to be sealed.

The win is still crucial in the playoff push, especially as the Browns will turn around and play in four days on Thursday Night Football. They have continued to build the success as an offense at the helm of the offense, finding pass catchers across the board and creating a dominate passing game. The Browns now have three consecutive wins with Flacco leading the Browns offense.

Who's next?

The Browns will have a quick turnaround and face the Jets on Thursday Night Football in Week 17. They will host the Jets on Dec. 28 at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 8:15 p.m. ET.