The Cleveland Browns moved to 4-2, which was good. But the play in Week 7 was something else.
Browns got off to a rough start
Only two words are needed to describe the start the Browns got off to in Indianapolis in Week 7: Nightmare Fuel. Outside of a 69-yard touchdown scamper by Jerome Ford on the game's opening drive, the Browns could not have scripted a worse first quarter. After not seeing Deshaun Watson take a snap for a calendar month, the polarizing quarterback got the start and looked…just dreadful.
Watson’s horrendous play lasted until he was knocked out of the game with ‘not a concussion’. Cleveland’s quarterback was evaluated for a concussion, but even after passing the battery test from the independent neurologist did not return. Watson’s throwing shoulder was clearly bothering him, but it was not officially listed as the reason for him not returning.
I think it is safe to file Watson’s non-return as a mercy benching. Unfortunately, up until Watson’s injury the Browns defense was getting diced up by Gardner Minshew. However, after Watson was replaced by P.J. Walker, the defense began playing with a noticeable sense of urgency.
Myles Garrett took game into his own hands
Myles Garrett took over in the second quarter, registering two strip fumble sacks with the latter resulting in a Browns fumble recovery in the end zone by Tony Fields for a touchdown. Despite playing horrible football for the vast majority of the first half, the Browns managed to end the half by scoring 10 points in the final two minutes.
The third quarter was a mixed bag for Cleveland. The offense was unable to find their footing with Walker under center, and the defense came out of the half dominating but then relented a couple of long drives to the Colts as well as a touchdown.
Within the first minute of the fourth quarter, the Browns found themselves down one point. After a drive that started off promising, they were facing a third and 16 just outside of field goal range. Walker dropped back and took a deep shot that wound up being intercepted at the two-yard line.
Browns did just enough down the stretch
That flip-in-field position was just the thing that the team needed. After forcing a three and out, the Browns offense was able to get the ball to the edge of field goal range. And just as he did all day long, Dustin Hopkins bailed the team out with his third field goal of over 50-plus yards and gave the Browns a two-point lead.
However, the Browns defense gave it all back in one single play. Michael Pittman caught a deep in-breaking route and took it to the house after the Browns put on a clinic of poor tackling. After trading three-and-outs, the Browns had one last chance to put the ball in the endzone.
Inexplicably, Walker and the Browns drove the ball 80 yards aided by two chunk passes from Walker and two penalties. Cleveland found themselves with a first-and-goal from the one-yard line after a pass interference in the back of the endzone. After attempting three straight passes, the Browns loaded up and ran the ball on fourth down with 19 seconds remaining.
Kareem Hunt scored his second touchdown of the afternoon by the slimmest of margins, just cracking the front of the goal line. The Browns defense was able to prevent the Colts from moving the ball and forcing a turnover with :02 seconds remaining. Final score: Browns 39 Colts 38