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.
The 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.
Succop’s 43-yard field goal gave the Titans a 3-0 lead over the Browns with 8:38 to play in the first quarter of their inter-divisional AFC matchup in Cleveland. It was Succop’s 52nd consecutive field goal 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.
The Titans took 6-3 lead over the Browns on Succop’s 23-yard field goal with 1:37 to play in the first half.
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, Mariota found 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.
The Titans retook a three-point lead over the Browns, 9-6, when Succop converted a 46-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter.
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 Mariota completed a 13-yard pass to 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.
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