Week 15 studs and duds: David Njoku, Amari Cooper help Cleveland Browns defy the odds

The Cleveland Browns found a way to come back in Week 15 with Amari Cooper and David Njoku standing out as studs

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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Browns dud: Cedric Tillman, WR

Cleveland’s offense was a mess throughout the first quarter, and it didn’t get better early in the second quarter. Their first drive in that quarter came from their own nine-yard line and that ended up being their first turnover of the game.

After Kareem Hunt gained just two yards on the opening play, Joe Flacco dropped back to pass on second-and-eight. He wound up throwing an interception which gave the Bears the ball on the Cleveland one-yard line after Eddie Jackson ran it back 27 yards. Initially, it appeared as though Flacco just threw the ball to the wrong player but that wasn’t the case.

The replay showed that Flacco was expecting Cedric Tillman to run a cross pattern and go in-between the linebacker and safety. Flacco threw the ball before he made his cut and Tillman took the route upfield — which led to the pick. Had Tillman run the crosser, he would have likely been hit in the chest for the first down.

Flacco and Tillman’s miscommunication led to the Bears scoring a touchdown on a pass from Justin Fields to Cole Kmet for the first points of the game. That wasn’t the end of the issues for Tillman, however. To start the third quarter, Tillman had a pass batted out of his hands and the ball landed in the arms of Tremaine Edmunds who took it in from 45 yards out for a touchdown.

Each of these interceptions goes against Flacco on the stat sheet. They also led to 14 points, seven of which were scored on the defense but neither happens without Tillman's gaffes. He rebounded with 52 yards on four receptions but these plays made it tougher than it needed to be to get the win.