Overtime was great to the Cleveland Browns only a week ago. Things were different this time around.
The Denver Broncos came into Cleveland with a record of 5-0, and remain undefeated after an overtime victory over the Browns.
The Browns had several chances to win the game but interceptions and negative yardage turned out to be the difference.
There was no question that the Denver defense was going to be a challenge to score on, so the Browns defense would have to play a great game.
They defense played its best game of the season, intercepting Peyton Manning three times. Karlos Dansby had two of those, including one he returned for a touchdown that put the Browns up 20-16. It was just too bad the Broncos scored on their next offensive play.
The play following the Dansby touchdown put the Broncos go up 23-20, which could have been 23-21 had the Browns kicked an extra point instead of going for, and failing to convert, a two-point conversion.
I do not fault Mike Pettine for this decision, as he likely had faith in his defense to not give up a 75-yard touchdown pass right away. But still, the decision may turn out to be a discussion point this week.
The Browns were shutout in the first half, scoring all 23 points in the second half. This is where we talk about Josh McCown, because as we all know in Cleveland, the quarterback is always under a spotlight.
His streak of 300+ passing yards ended as he finished with 213 yards and two touchdowns. The problem was not his yardage, but the two interceptions he threw.
The first interception ended with Aqib Talib standing in the end zone after a 63-yard return for a touchdown.
The Browns were having trouble moving the ball at that point, and the 10-0 lead looked like it would be insurmountable. But they were able to come alive in the second half, just not enough to ultimately win the game.
The second interception by McCown came in a potential game-winning situation. After the defense forced a Denver three-and-out, McCown and the offense got the ball back with 1:05 left on the clock. After getting to the Broncos’ 46-yard line, McCown threw an interception to end any chance of winning in regulation.
This pass came on second down, when the Browns needed maybe ten more yards to get in field goal range.
So it goes.
The next drive was a wild one, as it appeared the Broncos would win in regulation.
With 19 seconds left, Emmanuel Sanders appeared to catch the ball at the Browns 19-yard line, before getting up and running into the end zone as time expired.
But it appeared that Sanders did not possess the ball, and also that he stepped out-of-bounds. If it was ruled a catch and then that he stepped out-of-bounds, the Broncos would have had a short field goal to win. Luckily, at the time at least, the pass was ruled incomplete and the game went to overtime. Just prolonging the eventual result.
Overtime started well as Barkevious Mingo made an appearance and intercepted Manning, going all the way to the 39-yard line of the Broncos. A few yards and a game-winning field goal could be kicked by Travis Coons and Cleveland would erupt in collective jubilation.
A negative run play and two sacks ended that excitement before it could even begin.
You know the rest. The Broncos drove down the field and won with a field goal. They are 6-0. The Browns are 2-4.
McCown’s mistakes can take part of the blame for the loss, but a lack of protection by the offensive line did nothing to help the end result.
The Browns take on the St. Louis Rams next Sunday in St. Louis.