Browns Flop Late In Season Opener
Outscored 21-0 In 4th, Lose 43-13
The NFL season opener in Cleveland didn't live up to the hype built up by Browns fans and the media, melting down in the 4th quarter against the visiting Titans in a 43-13 loss at a packed First Energy Stadium.
With a raucous sold our crowd behind them, Baker Mayfield marched the Browns down the field in 8 plays on a 73-yard TD drive, capped off by a Dontrell Hilliard 4-yard run that put Cleveland on top 6-0 after rookie kicker Austin Seibert missed the PAT.
A flurry of penalties then troubled the Browns throughout the remainder of the game, snowballing in key moments to stunt any building momentum. Cleveland committed an incredible 18 penalties costing them 182 yards, as Tennessee rattled off 15 straight points while holding the Browns scoreless until late in the 3rd quarter.
The deficit would be cut down to 15-13 on a David N'Joju 3-yard TD catch with 2:10 remaining in the 3rd that extended Mayfield's string of games throwing for a score to the 3rd longest in NFL history, which kicked off it's 100th season this year. The Titans then struck back with a 75 yard screen pass TD to Derrick Henry on the very next offensive play of the game which seemingly swung a wave of negative momentum over the Browns.
Mayfield would get picked off for the first time in 110 pass attempts at home, leading to a Delanie Walker TD grab, on Cleveland's ensuing possession. A second INT would be thrown by Baker on the following drive that again led to a Walker catch in the end zone to make it a 36-13 score before Mayfield threw a 38 yard pick-6 to Malcolm Butler during the Browns very next drive that took the wind out of the stadium.
Mayfield was sacked 5 times behind a makeshift offensive line that lost starting LT Greg Robinson to ejection after he kicked a Tennessee defender from his back early in the second quarter. Baker finished 25-38 for 285 yds, TD, 3 Int and told reporters after the game, "Everyone is going to throw us in the trash, and I think that's good. ... I know how we're going to react."
Odell Beckham Jr. caught 7 passes for 71 yards in his Browns debut but was held to a single grab in the second half. Nick Chubb had 16 car for 75 yds as the team rushed for 102 yds, allowing 123 yds on the ground to the Titans who were outgained by Cleveland 346-339.
The Browns are an amazing 1-19-1 in openers since 1999, having lost an NFL record 15 in a row during Week 1.
Cleveland (0-1) travels to face the Jets (0-1) next Monday night at 8:15 pm in New York.