Week 14 instant reactions: Defense leads Cleveland Browns to victory

The defense led the way on Sunday as the Cleveland Browns snapped a two-game losing streak with a win at home over Jacksonville

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
1 of 3

Once again, Joe Flacco made the Cleveland Browns look wise for signing him on the opening drive. As he did in Los Angeles last week, Flacco carved apart the defense for a quick touchdown. This time, he was able to complete all four of his passing attempts for 66 yards.

The drive ended with a beautiful fake on third-and-one with Flacco under center and two extra offensive linemen on the field. The jumbo formation had all eyes on Kareem Hunt but Flacco kept it on a play fake. He then fired it downfield for David Njoku, who had no one anywhere near him, and walked in for a 34-yard touchdown.

A field position game ensued with Corey Bojorquez putting on a show. He bailed the Browns out with a 75-yard punt from their own 10 and Pierre Strong stuffed Parker Washington on the return to pin them deep. Eventually, the offense got rolling and Flacco had another drive to remember.

This time, he hit Amari Cooper for a 17-yard gain followed by a 20-yarder to Elijah Moore. Eventually, he hit Njoku again, this time for a 30-yard touchdown. This was the first time Njoku ever had a multi-touchdown game and he doubled his total for the season just over a minute into the second quarter.

Jacksonville continued to fight back and heading into the fourth quarter, it was 21-14 with the Jags scoring twice off turnovers. One was when Amari Cooper fumbled the ball in Cleveland territory and the other was when Flacco did the same. Each time they made it close, however, the defense stepped up. They intercepted Trevor Lawrence three times, helping to ensure they improved to 8-5 on the year.

53. Final. 27. 52. Week 14. 31

As important as the turnovers were, the game came down to a late fourth-down call. With around 3:30 left to play, the Jaguars needed three yards and Lawrence went to Zay Jones who had rookie Cameron Mitchell covering him. Mitchell, who just returned from an injury made the play and broke up the pass, leading to a field goal that made it 31-21, ending the Jags hopes of winning since they needed two scores with no timeouts.

Jacksonville did get another score (thanks to a bogus pass interference call on Anthony Walker) but couldn't convert on their two-point try. An onside kick was recovered by Cleveland and they ran the clock out, winning 31-27. That was the theme for the day as this defense once again carried the team to victory.