Joe Flacco’s magical ride crashed with a thud as the Texans beat up the Cleveland Browns Saturday.
Houston’s C.J. Stroud matched the NFL record for touchdown passes by a rookie in the first half.
Cleveland’s defense came out and started the third quarter by forcing a punt and rekindling hope for their fans.
Final from Houston. pic.twitter.com/v2kPIfM5yO
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) January 14, 2024
But… here are our studs and duds from the Browns’ disappointing loss.
Dud: Joe Flacco
After the forced punt and a good start brought Cleveland’s offense to the Houston 34, the wheels fell off.
Joe Flacco threw blindly under pressure and followed up that pick-6 with a second that all-but-ended the game.
Cleveland managed just 79 total yards on 28 plays the rest of the game, turning the ball over on downs 3 times.
Stud: David Bell
Jeff Driskel didn’t play this week, and he was pretty bad last week.
But we’ll credit him with the rediscovery of David Bell, once the Big Ten’s wide receiver of the year.
Bell’s 2 touchdowns from Driskel last week led Flacco to throw his way 8 times today, with 8 receptions by Bell.
Dud: Myles Garrett
Given a week off to rest his sore shoulder and coming off an All-Pro nod, we expected more from Myles Garrett.
More was a low bar, as the favorite for Defensive Player of the Year was held to 3 second-half tackles.
And nobody else along the defensive line picked up the slack as Stroud racked up a 157.2 passer rating.
Stud: Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was all over the field, especially when the game was still there for the taking.
His 9 tackles on the day included 4 tackles for a loss, and he was the only defender Stroud had to worry about.
If nothing else, his excellent game on national TV should earn him consideration for 2024 postseason awards.