Browns fall behind early, struggle with turnovers in loss to Broncos
The Browns headed into a tough matchup against the Broncos with QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson making his first road start against a defense that forced a number of turnovers in its last four games.
That proved to be the case again Sunday, as the Broncos forced three turnovers on three fumbles, and their offense capitalized on the field position. The Browns lost to the Broncos, 29-12, to fall to 7-4 on the season.
Making matters even more difficult on a tough day in Denver, Thompson-Robinson exited the game in the third quarter with a concussion, forcing P.J. Walker into action for the remainder of the game.
The Broncos put points on the board first on their opening drive, as they marched down the field and capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run from RB Samaje Perine — just the second all season by the Broncos.
In the second quarter, the Browns had two key defensive penalties that set up the Broncos up for another touchdown. DE Myles Garrett was called for a neutral zone infraction on a second-and-12, and DE Alex Wright was later flagged for offsides. The Broncos' drive ended with a 2-yard run by Russell Wilson for a touchdown to put the Broncos up 14-0.
The Browns found the end zone in the third quarter on a 2-yard pass from Thompson-Robinson to TE Harrison Bryant. Thompson-Robinson moved the Browns down the field connecting on a couple of deep passes to his pass-catchers to help set them up in the red zone. The two-point conversion was dropped, so the Broncos led 14-12 with 6:42 left in the third quarter.
The Browns had their second turnover of the game in the fourth quarter on a fumble that the Broncos recovered and set them up in great field position. After three plays, Wilson connected with TE Adam Trautman for 8 yards in the end zone. The pass was initially ruled incomplete, but the Broncos challenged the ruling, and it was overturned for the touchdown. It gave the Broncos a 24-12 lead over the Browns.
Player of the Game:
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
The third-year linebacker was a bright spot on an otherwise tough day for the Cleveland defense. Owusu-Koramoah led the Browns with 12 tackles, including two that went for a loss, and a sack.
Stat of the Game:
WR Amari Cooper passed 9,000 career receiving yards through 136 games. He passed the milestone in the third quarter when he hauled in an 11-yard reception. That play gave him 9,001 career receiving yards. Cooper finished the game with 16 receiving yards.
What does it mean?
It's a tough loss for the Browns for couple of reasons, as they fell to a fellow AFC team and saw their three-game winning streak snapped. The Broncos came in on a four-game win streak and had showed improved over the course of the season. It was going to be a difficult matchup, as Thompson-Robinson had his first taste of playing on the road and facing a stout Broncos defense that forces a number of takeaways, and it was made even tougher when Thompson-Robinson exited with an injury. The Browns defense also missed CB Denzel Ward's presence in the secondary, as the unit struggled with a number of miscues and penalties. The Browns defense has been one of the best in the league over the course of the season and will have to fix these mistakes as they head into Week 12.
Along with Thompson-Robinson's injury, the Browns also lost DT Jordan Elliott (ankle) and Cooper (ribs) with injuries in the second half.
The Browns will stay out west and travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams in Week 13 on Dec. 3 at Sofi Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 4:25 p.m. EST.