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Game Recap: Texans down Browns 45-14 to advance to AFC Divisional Round


The Houston Texans walloped the Cleveland Browns to advance to the AFC Divisional Round. NRG Stadium was bouncing from kickoff until the final whistle, and Head Coach DeMeco Ryans' team gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about in a stunning performance. 

The remaining Super Wild Card Round games will determine whether the Texans play at home or on the road in the AFC Divisional Round. If the Texans are at home, tickets will go on sale at a later date. 

The Texans won the opening toss and deferred to the second half. The Browns received the opening kickoff.

The Cleveland Browns started at their own 25. Joe Flacco on play action hit an open Jerome Ford out of the backfield on the opening play up to the 36 for a first down. After a five-yard gain on a pass to David Bell up to the 41, the Browns went backwards as Denzel Perryman flew into the backfield and dropped Ford for a loss of four back to the 37.

The NRG crowd revved up on 3rd-and-9 as Flacco hit Kareem Hunt in the flat and he was driven straight back as Derek Stingley Jr. dragged him down for a loss of six and forced the Browns to punt. Corey Bojorquez boomed a nearly-blocked punt 52 yards and it was fair caught by Desmond King II at his own 17.

The Texans started their first drive of the game from their own 17. C.J. Stroud started at quarterback for Houston and his first pass attempt connected with Devin Singletary and he picked up three yards up to the 20. Stroud found his favorite target Nico Collins on the second play of the drive as he hit him in stride across the middle for a gain of 21 yards up to the 41.

After an incomplete pass, Singletary fought for a few yards up the middle to set up a 3rd-and-8. An offsides call against the Browns set up a 3rd-and-3, which the Texans failed to convert as an attempted pass for Noah Brown fell incomplete. The Texans elected to punt and Cameron Johnston boomed it down inside the Browns 10-yard-line, where Kris Boyd immediately wrapped up James Proche II at his own eight.

The Browns started their second drive of the game with a short run to get the ball up to the 10-yard-line. On second down, the Texans defense nearly got Flacco in the endzone as Perryman and King provided pressure, making him throw it away. On 3rd-and-7, Flacco was able to get a throw off with WIll Anderson Jr providing pressure. Flacco got it to Hunt but he was only able to pick up three yards before being tackled. A bad punt by the Browns placed the ball at their 45 for the Texans to start.

Houston started on the Browns side of midfield at their 45. After a short pass from Stroud to Singletary for three yards and then a one-yard run by Singletary set up a 3rd-and-6 at the Browns 41. Stroud stood in the pocket, took a hit but was able to get it away for a 38-yard completion to Collins. That play took the Texans down to the four-yard-line of Cleveland and set up a 1st-and-Goal.

After an incomplete pass, Stroud, on a designed quarterback run, took it to his left looking for the pylon but was pushed out at the three for a gain of one. On 3rd-and-Goal, a pass attempt for Robert Woods in the endzone fell incomplete.

Ka'imi Fairbairn came on and nailed a 21-yard field goal to give the Texans a 3-0 lead with 5:29 remaining in the first quarter. The Houston scoring drive went 43 yards in a span of seven plays and took 2:54 off the clock.

The Browns started from their own 25 after a touchback on the ensuing kickoff. Flacco reached back and fired a deep ball to David Njoku who took it 45 yards to the Houston 30-yard-line.

After an eight-yard pass to Njoku, Flacco hit Amari Cooper for the first time and he took it down to the eight after a 14-yard gain to set up a 1st-and-Goal for the Browns. Hunt took it up the middle on the first play to the three for a five-yard gain to the three. On 2nd-and-Goal, Flacco hit Harrison Bryant, who got down the one and Hunt capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run up the middle.

The Browns took their first lead of the game, making it 7-3 with 2:09 left in the first quarter. The drive went six plays, 75 yards and took 3:20 off the clock.
Following a touchback on the ensuing kickoff, the Texans started at their own 25. The first play, a simple toss to Singletary and he did the rest. Singletary hit a gap and gained 29 yards before being dragged down at the 46 of the Browns. Stroud on the next play hit a wide open John Metchie III picking up 27 yards to get it into the redzone at the 19-yard-line.

The next two plays belonged to Collins. After picking up four yards on an end around, Stroud hit Collins in the flat and let him do the rest for a 15-yard touchdown. The score made it 10-7 Houston with 11 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Texans scoring drive went 75 yards in just four plays, taking 1:58 off the clock.

The Browns started their next drive at their own 25 after a Fairbairn kickoff sailed out of the endzone. With 11 seconds remaining in the first quarter, Flacco hit Bryant across the middle for a gain of 48 yards, which ended the frame.

End of 1st Quarter: Texans 10, Browns 7

The Browns started the second quarter at the 28 of the Texans, trailing 10-7.

A pair of four-yard runs by Ford set up a 3rd-and-2 at the 20 of Houston. After an injury timeout, the Browns had Flacco go to his right on a quarterback sneak, which picked up three yards and a first down in the redzone.

On 1st-and-10 from the 17, Flacco hit Bell along the near sideline for a gain of six down to the 11. On the next play, Flacco shoveled the ball to Hunt up the middle, who took it in from 12 yards for the score. The Browns regained the lead going up 14-10 with 12:18 remaining in the first half.

The scoring drive for Cleveland went 75 yards in six plays, which took 2:53 off the clock.

Dare Ogunbowale returned the ensuing kickoff for the Texans 14 yards to set Houston up at the 24. The very next play Stroud hit Brevin Jordan, who side-stepped a would-be tackler and turned on the jets. Jordan took it 76 yards to the endzone to give Houston the lead right back. It is the longest touchdown pass for the Texans this season.
The Texans scoring drive was one play that took 18 seconds off the clock. Houston led Cleveland 17-14 with 12:00 left in the opening half.

Cleveland started on their own 25 on the next drive looking to answer. After an incomplete pass, broken up by Steven Nelson, the Browns went backwards. Flacco completed the pass to Ford and Christian Harris slung him backwards for a loss of four.

Facing a 3rd-and-14, Flacco was dropped for a sack by Derek Barnett for a loss of eight yards back to the 13. The Browns punted as Bojorquez boomed it 50 yards, which was returned seven yards by King.

The Texans started on their own 44. The first play went to Dameon Pierce, who was dropped for a loss of one. Stroud was able to get it out to Singletary on the next play but he was tackled behind the line of scrimmage.

On 3rd-and-13, Stroud overthrew Collins as he streaked towards the endzone. Johnston came on and punted it 49 yards, which was fair caught at the 10 by Proche.

Starting from their own 10-yard-line, the Browns started with a seven-yard run by Ford to give them some breathing room against their own endzone. Flacco completed his next pass to Njoku, who picked up five yards and the first down up to the 22. Flacco ran on the next play and gained two yards before being popped at the 24.

After an incomplete pass, on 3rd-and-8, Flacco hit Njoku just short of the marker as Nelson pushed him out of bounds before getting the first down. The Browns punted and Bojorquez's punt went 41 yards and bounded out of bounds at the Houston 29.

The Texans started at their own 29 and Metchie rumbled up to the 38 on an end around to pick up nine yards on the first play of the drive. Singletary quickly picked up the first down after being bottled up trying up the middle, he cut it out to the left and gained six yards up to the 44.

Stroud rolled out on a play action to his right and hit Collins, who gained 12 yards up the sideline and into Browns territory. After a short completion to Xavier Hutchinson for six yards and then run for a one-yard loss by Singletary, the Texans faced a 3rd-and-5. The Browns were flagged for defensive pass interference on the next play, which moved the ball up to the 27.

On the next play, the Texans were flagged for offensive holding, which moved the ball back to the 35. Singletary was credited two yards on the previous run, which made it 1st-and-18. This brought on the two minute warning.

Coming out of the two-minute warning, the Texans went to the ground as Singletary ran but lost two yards on the play. From the 37, Stroud aired it out for a wide open Dalton Schultz, who walked into the endzone to make it a 24-14 lead for the Texans with 1:11 left in the first half.

The scoring drive for the Texans went 71 yards in eight plays and took 4:33 off the clock.

Cleveland took over on their own 25 with enough time to orchestrate a drive. The Browns started with a 19-yard pass from Flacco to Cooper to the 44. After an incomplete pass, on 2nd-and-10, Anderson dropped Flacco for a sack, which set them back nine yards.

This brought an end to the first half.

The Texans started the second half receiving the kickoff and holding a 24-14 lead coming out of the break. Houston did lose wide receiver Noah Brown for the rest of the game due to a shoulder injury.

Houston started with a run for no gain by Singletary, followed by Stroud hitting Metchie for a gain of 11 yards to set up a 1st-and-10 at the 36.

After a one-yard gain by Singletary, on 2nd-and-9, Stroud floated a pass to Hutchinson, who was able to get it up to the 43 for a gain of six and set up a 3rd-and-3.

Stroud did hit Collins on the next play but he was dropped for a loss, which forced a punt. The Texans were flagged for holding and the Browns for illegal formation, which replayed the down. Houston was penalized for a false start, which pushed them back again. Johnston booted a 48-yard punt, which pinned the Browns back at their own 15.
Cleveland started its first drive of the second half with a short pass to Bell for four yards, followed by a 10-yard completion to Njokyu to get the ball up to the 32. Hunt rumbled for six yards on the next play, which set up Cleveland with a 2nd-and-4.

The Texans defense held Ford to a two-yard carry as Anderson dragged him down. On 3rd-and-2, Flacco hit Cooper for a gain of 16 yards and into Texans territory at their 45. Holding was called against the Browns on their next play, which pushed them back to their own 45. After a four-yard pass to Bell, Flacco went to him again for a 16-yard pickup to wipe out an original 1st-and-20.

With a new set of downs, Flacco stepped back and was hit as he threw by Barnett, which caused his pass to float into the air. Steven Nelson was able to pick it off at the 18 and return it 82 yards for the pick six. This made it 31-14 advantage Texans with 6:05 remaining in the third quarter.

The Browns got the ball back and Flacco was able to hit Bell for a pair of short passes to pick up nine yards up to the 34 before Hunt was knocked back for a one-yard loss. Facing a 4th-and-2 at their own 33, the Browns went for it and Flacco was picked off by Christian Harris. The Texans linebacker took it back 36 yards for the touchdown. Back-to-back pick sixes by the Texans defense.

The pair of defensive touchdowns put Houston up 38-14 with 4:06 left in the third quarter.

The Browns went back to work, trailing by 24. Cleveland got up to the 45, thanks in big part to a 29-yard completion to Njoku. After an 11-yard pass to Bryant, which got the Browns into Texans territory, the Cleveland offense stalled out. On 4th-and-6 at the 37, Cleveland went for it and Flacco was dropped for a sack by Harris, which was a loss of 13 yards. This forced a turnover on downs.

The Texans took over on the 50 and Stroud hit Collins for an 11-yard completion to get it to the 39. After a pair of short runs by Singletary, it got Houston to the 33, which brought an end to the 3rd quarter.

The Texans started the final quarter leading 38-14 and with the ball. After an 11-yard pass to Woods and a three-yard run by Singletary, the Texans back finished off the drive with a 19-yard touchdown run where he leaped into the endzone.

The scoring drive went 50 yards in six plays, spanning 3:00. The Texans extended their lead to 45-14 with the touchdown.

On the ensuing drive, the Browns took over on their own 25. After back-to-back short runs by Ford, Flacco ran for another eight yards to pick up the first down at the 39. Facing a 2nd-and-12 after a run for a loss by Hunt, the Browns had Flacco hit Elijah Moore for a gain of seven yards to the 44 to bring up 3rd-and-5.

After a pass for just two yards to Hunt, Flacco had his pass fall incomplete intended for Njoku on fourth down, which turned the ball back over to the Texans.

As the Texans took over, they made a change at quarterback as Davis Mills came in for C.J. Stroud. Houston started at the Cleveland 46. Pierce went up the middle for one yard, followed by a run for no gain to bring up a 3rd-and-9. Mills completed a pass to Metchie for a gain of six yards up to the 39. It brought up 4th-and-3, which the Texans took a delay of game on to set up a punt. Johnston booted it out of the endzone for a touchback.

The Browns took over on their own 20 with 6:57 left in the game. After a loss of one yard on a pass to Hunt, the Browns back went up the middle and got to the 33 before being tackled by Adrian Amos. He picked up 14 yards on the carry.

Following an incomplete pass, on 2nd-and-10, Hunt took the ball for one yard. Flacco found Bell on the next play for a 10-yard gain up to the 44 to set up a new set of downs. Moore reeled in a Flacco pass for a five-yard gain on the next play, setting up 2nd-and-5, which the Browns passed it as Flacco hit Cooper across the middle for a gain of 10 yards into Texans territory.

From the 41, the Browns went with Ford on the ground, who lost two yards. Flacco hit Bryant on the next pass for five yards up to the 38. On 3rd-and-7, Ford tried to wiggle his way out of multiple tackles but only gained one yard. This brought up a fourth down and the two minute warning.

Coming out of the two-minute warning, the Browns faced a 4th-and-6. Flacco ran out of time and was sacked by Kurt Hinish, which forced a turnover on downs.
The Texans took over and three kneel-downs later Houston had wrapped up a 45-14 playoff victory over the Cleveland Browns.
The Houston Texans advance to the AFC Divisional Round for the fifth time in franchise history.

The remaining Super Wild Card Round games will determine whether the Texans play at home or on the road in the AFC Divisional Round. If the Texans are at home, tickets will go on sale at a later date.

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