Dud: Sheldon Richardson
The addition of Sheldon Richardson was meant to spearhead the Browns defensive line and create a four-man front that would be a tough task for any offensive line to manage. He was a presence in the middle of the defensive line, making four solo tackles and a pass deflection.
However, Richardson was one of the Browns defenders whose lack of discipline created opportunities for the Tennessee Titans offense. And Richardson’s penalties were a part of the start of the downfall of the Browns as a whole.
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With the Browns leading 6-3 at the start of the second quarter, the Titans were struggling to generate much offense. But after moving down the field after a pair of Browns penalties, the Titans were threatening.
Cleveland was able to force a 3rd & 8 with the Titans at Cleveland’s 32-yard line, but Richardson was called for a roughing the passer penalty on the play, pushing Tennessee into the redzone. A few plays later, Richardson was drawn offsides on a 3rd & 4, giving the Titans another set of downs. Two plays later, the Titans scored a touchdown and took their only lead of the game.
Without Richardson’s penalties, Cleveland could have held Tennessee to a field goal that would have tied the game, potentially easing the pressure on the offense. Instead, the Titans took a lead they would not relinquish.
It may have only been one drive of notable mistakes by Richardson, but his two penalties ultimately gave the Titans more chances at the end zone. If Cleveland holds Tennessee to a field goal and the momentum does not shift, perhaps the Browns could have taken back control of the game.