Wild Card Playoff Loss!!! Browns Lose To Texans 45-14: Game Recap 1/13/24

January 14, 2024

Andy Billman

Post-Game Live Recap

3 Things About Browns’ Loss

1 – Oh no, Joe

Browns QB Joe Flacco had not one but two interceptions returned in the game for touchdowns, or as they are known, “pick-6.”  Flacco’s mistakes cost the Browns dearly, and the offensive line had difficulty keeping the Texans away from Joe, especially James Hudson.

2 – Defense welp

Outside of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, the defense had a dreadful day, with most Texans starters out of the game by the middle of the fourth quarter.  YIKES

3 – No stars

The Browns needed their stars to show up and did not get much of anything from Flacco, Amari Cooper, and Myles Garrett.  


It was a fun, exciting year for the Browns, and Flacco was wonderful. Until the playoffs, this loss will sting for a long time, especially for head coach Kevin Stefanski.   Again, it was a great season with all of the injuries, but a disappointing finish.

Game Summary

In an instant, the dynamics of Saturday’s Super Wild Card Weekend Showdown between the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns underwent a drastic shift. After briefly trailing in the second quarter, the Texans swiftly reclaimed the lead, going on to score 35 unanswered points and securing a decisive 45-14 victory.

The pivotal moment came with a touchdown throw by C.J. Stroud, who set a new rookie playoff record with 236 passing yards in the first half. Stroud, with three first-half touchdown passes matching a playoff rookie single-game record, orchestrated a 76-yard touchdown pass to Brevin Jordan, giving Houston the lead for good with 12 minutes remaining until halftime. Another highlight was his 37-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Schultz, extending Houston’s lead to 24-14 at halftime.

The game slipped away from the Browns in the third quarter, marked by Joe Flacco’s two pick-sixes within two minutes. Steven Nelson’s 82-yard return and Christian Harris’s 36-yard catch-and-carry contributed to the Texans’ commanding lead.

Despite Kareem Hunt’s two first-half touchdowns, the Browns couldn’t keep up, and the Texans’ 31-point victory marked the largest margin of victory in franchise postseason history.

Examining Houston’s success: Houston dominated the first half, turning it into a high-speed race while disrupting Cleveland’s running game, which only managed 56 yards on 20 carries. Stroud, with strong protection from the offensive line, avoided any sacks. Stroud’s crucial touchdown pass to Schultz increased the pressure on Flacco and set the stage for the game-sealing pick-sixes in the third quarter.

Ultimately, the quarterbacks played a central role in the outcome, with Stroud boasting a near-perfect passer rating, while Flacco continued his tendency to turn the ball over.

Analyzing Cleveland’s defeat: The Browns, known for comebacks earlier in the season, found themselves trailing for most of the game. This forced them to rely more on Flacco, who initially had success but struggled as the Texans intensified their pressure, sacking him four times and forcing inaccurate passes.

The Browns’ defense also played a significant part in the loss, failing to pressure Stroud, allowing him to move freely in the pocket, and exhibiting poor tackling. This marked a humbling conclusion for a defense that had been a key factor in the Browns’ 11-win season despite facing challenges with five different starting quarterbacks.

Identifying the turning point: The turning point was unmistakable – Nelson’s pick-six, giving Houston a 31-14 lead with 6:05 left in the third quarter. Derek Barnett’s pressure on Flacco played a crucial role in setting the stage for Nelson’s game-changing play.

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