The Cleveland Browns look to bounce back from a tough Week 1 loss in Kansas City. Here’s a look at their match-up in Week 2 with the Houston Texans.
One of the big surprises of 2021 NFL Week 1 was the Houston Texans, the preseason consensus for worst team in the NFL, rocking the Jacksonville Jaguars 37-21. The result should be a bit surprising given the fluidity of the Texans offense led by former Cleveland Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor, but the size of the win can also be largely attributed to the perhaps overlooked dysfunction of the Jaguars under first-year NFL coach Urban Meyer.
The Jags offense was ineffective in the run game, and No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence tossed a mix of good and bad throws, including three interceptions to set up the Texans nicely.
Though the surprising Texans win should be a sign not to underestimate them, or any NFL team really, the quality of the win deserves an adequate appraisal of their opponent as well. In all likelihood, the Browns probably have more reason to be cautious than not, but no reason not to feel confident in their ability to handle the Texans next Sunday.
Cleveland Browns wand redemption for Week 1
Baker Mayfield and company took a tough loss last Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs. After controlling the first half they hardly saw the ball in the third quarter, and getting back in rhythm saw them commit three costly turnovers: A rare fumble by Nick Chubb, a botched punt attempt, and a Mayfield interception to seal it.
The interception felt particularly cruel, not just because it ended the game and confirmed defeat, but because it was a clear attempt to throw the ball away, having its trajectory changed after Mayfield was nudged off balance by a defender.
Mayfield played particularly well up to that point but has little to show for it now. He does, however, have a tremendous bounce-back opportunity at the weekend.
The Texans offense should not present similar problems of keeping the Browns off the field for too long, and though their defense was solid against the Jaguars, that comes with the fairly large asterisk of it being the Jaguars. Mayfield doesn’t force bad throws into coverage anymore, and more importantly he has the offensive line and run game to keep the Texans from forcing the passing game like they did against Trevor Lawrence last Sunday.
Mayfield is still missing a key weapon in Odell Beckham Jr., but got some positive signs from his receivers in Week 1, notably from rookie Anthony Schwartz, who is clearly more than just a special teams weapon for Kevin Stefanski. This is an opportunity to let fly (within reason) and build some confidence before getting into the real meat of the Browns’ schedule.