4:15 p.m.-TENNESSEE TITANS BEST CLEVELAND BROWNS, 12-9, IN BATTLE OF KICKERS
CLEVELAND -- It was a day only defensive and special-teams coordinators could love.
With neither team able to score a touchdown, the Tennessee Titans gave Ryan Succop more chances at conversions, and the veteran kicker delivered with four field goals on the way to a 12-9 overtime win over the Cleveland Browns in a battle of AFC teams at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday.
Succop converted four of his five attempts against the Browns, including the 47-yard game-winner at the 1:55 mark of the overtime period.
With the win, the Titans improved to 4-3 on the season, while the Browns fell to 0-7 and have now lost 22 of their 23 games under the direction of coach Hue Jackson and the leadership of top executive Sashi Brown.
During the second half, Jackson benched rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer for the second time in three weeks, this time in favor of second-year signal-caller Cody Kessler. Kizer completed 12 of his 20 attempts for 114 yards, but threw two more interceptions and has a league-high 11 passing turnovers in just six starts this season.
In relief, Kessler completed 10 of his 19 throws for 121 yards with one interception.
In addition to the game, the Browns lost their stalwart left tackle Joe Thomas to a triceps injury in the third quarter. Thomas’ NFL-best streak of 10,363 consecutive snaps played was broken as a result of the injury, which forced him out of the lineup for the remainder of the game.
3:48 p.m.-BROWNS DRAW EVEN WITH TITANS
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns drew even with the Tennessee Titans, 9-9, on Zane Gonzalez’s 54-yard field goal with 47 seconds to play in the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The sixth-longest field goal in Browns history, Gonzalez’s kick capped off a 10-play, 31-yard drive.
3:04 p.m.-TITANS TAKE 9-6 LEAD OVER BROWNS
CLEVELAND -- The Tennessee Titans retook a three-point lead over the host Cleveland Browns, 9-6, when kicker Ryan Succop converted a 46-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Succop’s third conversion of the day was his 53rd straight make from under 50 yards and capped off a nine-play, 47-yard drive.
Prior to the field goal, the Titans had a pair of plays that went for at least 13 yards, as quarterback Marcus Mariota completed a 13-yard pass to tight end Delanie Walker on the first snap of the possession, and then, later in the drive, he found wide receiver Taywan Taylor for 17 yards on a flea-flicker.
2:50 p.m.- CLEVELAND BROWNS’ JOE THOMAS HAS SNAP STREAK COMES TO END
CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas’ consecutive snaps streak came to an end in the third quarter of play against the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday.
On first-and-10 from Tennessee’s 27-yard line, Browns running back Duke Johnson ran behind the left side of his offensive line for a three-yard gain. Thomas emerged from the pile holding his left arm and writhing in pain as he fell to the turf.
Attended to for several moments on the field, Thomas was helped to his feet and walked to the sidelines while talking with Browns medical personal.
Prior to the injury, Thomas had played 10,363 consecutive snaps, which is believed to be the longest such streak in the history of the National Football league. It was announced after the drive that Thomas suffered a triceps injury and would not return to the game.
A franchise-record 10-time Pro Bowl player, Thomas was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft out of the University of Wisconsin.
2:43 p.m.-BROWNS DEFENSE HOLDS ON FOURTH DOWN
CLEVELAND -- The Tennessee Titans had four chances at a touchdown from the one-yard line, but the Cleveland Browns’ defense held, keeping the differential at just three points, 6-3, with more than nine minutes to play in the third quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Browns stopped running back DeMarco Murray for no gain on first down when linebacker Christian Kirksey and defensive lineman Emmanuel Ogbah hit him at the line of scrimmage.
On second down, quarterback Marcus Mariota struggled to get his feet underneath him after taking the snap from center and underthrew wide open tight end Delanie Walker on the right side of the field. Walker got behind the secondary’s coverage, but slipped while coming back to the ball and could not corral the pass.
On third down, Murray was once again bottled up at the line of scrimmage.
Instead of attempting the field goal, the Titans left the offense on the field, but Ogbah read the play, filled the gap and brought down reserve rusher Derrick Henry short of the goal line.
2:08 p.m.-TITANS RETAKE LEAD OVER BROWNS
CLEVELAND -- The Tennessee Titans took 6-3 lead over the Cleveland Browns on Ryan Succop’s 23-yard field goal with 1:37 to play in the first half of their AFC inter-divisional matchup at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Succop’s 53rd consecutive conversion under 50 yards capped off a 14-play, 70-yard drive that took 6:54 off the clock and was twice aided by neutral zone infraction penalties against the Browns.
The Titans converted three third downs before settling for the field goal.
On third-and-five from the Tennessee 30-yard line, quarterback Marcus Mariota found tight end Delanie Walker for a seven-yard gain. Then, on third-and-seven at his own 40-yard line, Mariota scrambled toward the Tennessee sideline when the protection broke down and rushed for a gain of eight yards.
On third-and-two at the Cleveland 14-yard line, Mariota drew Browns rookie defensive end Myles Garrett offsides for a five-yard penalty and the first down.
1:48 p.m.-BROWNS DRAW EVEN WITH TITANS
CLEVELAND -- Rookie kicker Zane Gonzalez capped off a seven-play, 27-yard drive with a 31-yard field goal and drew the Cleveland Browns even with the Tennessee Titans, 3-3, with 8:31 to play in the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Browns started the drive at the Titans’ 40-yard line after winning a coach’s challenge.
Originally, the Titans had a first down after a pass from quarterback Marcus Mariota to tight end Delanie Walker, but the Browns challenged, and the replay review showed that the ball came loose before Walker was brought to the ground. Rather than ruling the pass incomplete, the referees awarded the Browns a fumble recovery.
On the first play after the fumble, Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer completed a 15-yard pass to running back Isaiah Crowell, and then, on second-and-seven, the two combined on an 11-yard play.
1:10 p.m.-TITANS TAKE LEAD ON EARLY FIELD GOAL
CLEVELAND -- The Tennessee Titans marched 45 yards in 11 plays, and then, capped off their nearly six-and-a-half minute drive with a 43-yard field goal through the uprights in the East end zone at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Kicker Ryan Succop’s 43-yard field goal gave the Titans (3-3) a 3-0 lead over the Cleveland Browns (0-6) with 8:38 to play in the first quarter of their inter-divisional AFC matchup in Cleveland. Succop has now converted 52 consecutive field goals of under 50 yards.
The Titans started the drive with two big gains, as quarterback Marcus Mariota completed an 18-yard pass over the middle of the field to wide receiver Rishard Matthews, and then, running back DeMarco Murray followed with a nine-yard run.
The Titans converted their first third-and-one on the drive when running back Derrick Henry carried for a two-yard gain, and on their second, it was a critical decision from the Browns that kept the possession alive.
On third-and-one from Cleveland’s 32-yard line, Titans offensive lineman Taylor Lewan was flagged for a face-mask penalty that would have backed up Tennessee into a third-and-16. However, Browns coach Hue Jackson elected to decline the penalty, and the Titans responded with a fourth-and-one conversion.
11:00 a.m.-GAME INFORMATION
CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson wanted rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer to see the game from a different lens before reinserting him into the starting lineup, and he gave the first-year player six straight quarters on the sideline to do so.
Prior to Wednesday’s practice, the Browns (0-6) announced that Kizer would start against the Tennessee Titans (3-3) at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday, and the first-year quarterback admitted the “competitive juices are flowing” after getting benched, which Jackson was glad to hear.
“Absolutely, when you don’t get to play, a lot of things happen, especially when it is something you want really bad,” Jackson said. “There were a lot of things I was trying to accomplish in that; that wasn’t one of them, but I think it is a byproduct of that situation. Hopefully, there are a lot of lessons learned, and he will grow from it and come out and play as well as I think he can.”
On the way to being benched for six straight quarters, Kizer completed just eight of his 17 throws for 87 yards with one interception and one lost fumble, while second-year quarterback Kevin Hogan connected on 16 of his 19 attempts for 194 yards with two touchdowns and one interception on a deflection in a 17-14 loss to the New York Jets to weeks ago.
In the loss to the Jets, Kizer posted a 38.1 quarterback rating in what was his fourth straight outing with a completion percentage under 50.
“Sometimes, that is what it takes,” Jackson said. “Sometimes, people think it takes three weeks, four weeks. I am not in that school of thought. I think if a guy can learn the lessons and if he can regurgitate it back to me in conversation and in work and me seeing those things change, then hopefully, the lesson is learned.
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