Dog Pound Damage | Vandermeer's View

It was a strange afternoon. The first weather delay in the history of the franchise pushed kickoff back over a half hour. Then the Browns got the ball and alarmingly drove to the six yard line before Baker Mayfield was called for intentional grounding, trying to dispose of a bad snap.

Cleveland settled for a field goal that gave them a lead they would never surrender.

It felt like a hockey game in terms of field position, with the Texans playing much of the first half in the Cleveland 'zone' (their end of the field. Stay with me with the cross-sport metaphors, folks).

The biggest problem was Houston couldn't score. The Texans were turned back in a goal-to-go situation, getting stopped on a QB draw from the two. They went to the locker room, down 3-0, seemingly in good shape for a second half surge.

After the break, the two teams slugged it out through a scoreless third quarter. Romeo Crennel elected to abort going for a 4th and two only to see his team miss a 46-yard field goal.

This inspired Cleveland to drive for a touchdown, as their ground game started to heat up.

It's notable, if not a headline that the Texans defense was doing a solid job against the run, and overall, until the fourth quarter. Even then, at the end of the day you look up and see 10 Cleveland points on the scoreboard. I'm betting anyone in Deep Steel Blue would have gladly taken that number prior to the day's festivities.

But the offense never got on the board until a 90-yard drive in the fourth quarter that cut the lead to three. There was ample time to put the brakes on the Browns and go for the lead or a tie.

It didn't happen. Cleveland ran out the clock and Watson never saw the ball again.

Seeing both Browns backs get over 100 yards might make you think the Texans were manhandled all day. But they hung in there nicely and got off the field plenty.

The Browns had been giving up 29 points per game. However, coming off their bye, they played like a rejuvenated team on defense. Houston's offense had a rough day and will need to play much better against the Patriots Sunday.

This one stings because it was a so-close-yet-so-far NFL grinder – the type of game we've seen the Texans win many times in recent years. Now, at 2-7, the Texans have to win-out to avoid their first non-winning campaign since 2017.

Check out photos from the Houston Texans week 10 game against the Cleveland Browns.

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