The Cleveland Browns got off to a promising start after Karlos Dansby intercepted a pass on the Denver Broncos’ first possession. Unfortunately, they couldn’t take advantage of the turnover as they opted not to attempt a 50 plus yard field goal.

Cleveland was aggressive and went for it on fourth down and five yards to go. It was a nice play call, but Gary Barnidge couldn’t hang onto the ball. Plus, the pass was a little behind him.
The Broncos drove into the red zone on their next possession, but were held to just a field goal. Peyton Manning has yet to lead his offense to a first quarter touchdown. His defense has been bailing him out of trouble.

Speaking of which, Josh McCown threw an interception two plays into the second quarter. Although it was just his second on the season, it resulted in a 63 yard return for a touchdown. Denver now held a 10 point advantage.

The score would remain the same until the second half when the Browns received the halftime kickoff. McCown took some shots downfield to Andrew Hawkins for 25 yards and Travis Benjamin for 12. This set up Gary Barnidge in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown, scoring in four straight games now.

This was a defensive battle as Cleveland was stopping the struggling Broncos offense, but facing arguably the best defense in the league. Late in the third quarter, McCown was sacked and lost the ball, setting up Denver near midfield. Despite great field position, Denver was held to another field goal making the score 13-7.

The lead grew to nine after yet another Brandon McManus field goal. Denver appeared to be pulling away until the Browns struck again. Cleveland got a free play with Denver jumping offsides and Benjamin came down with the tough grab. A couple plays later, McCown found Barnidge open for his second touchdown of the game. The lead dwindled to just two points.

On the next series, a pass off Ronnie Hillman’s hands went right into the arms of Dansby. He tight-roped the sideline to stay inbounds and took the ball 35 yards into the end zone. Cleveland captured the lead 20-16 after a failed two point attempts.

It took exactly one play for Peyton Manning to find Emmanuel Sanders for the 75 yard score.
A couple of series later, the Browns chewed some clock and maintained their drive by running the ball effectively. They tied the game at 23 on a field goal by Travis Coons. After a three and out by the Broncos, Cleveland had an opportunity to win the game with three timeouts and just over a minute to play. Unfortunately, a McCown interception gave the ball right back to the opposition.
After a crazy reception by Sanders was overturned the game was forced into overtime.

Denver won the coin toss and elected to receive the ball, but Cleveland’s defense came through again, picking off Manning for a rare third time. Barkevious Mingo appeared to be rushing the quarterback, but dropped back into coverage and snagged a floater.

Despite the good field position it was a poor possession that resulted in negative yardage and the Browns were forced to punt. The Broncos then marched downfield with little resistance to get within field goal range to win the game 26-23.

-Max Gold

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