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Recap: Browns hang on to beat the Titans, 41-35

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns just made a big statement, rolling into Nashville and absolutely dominating the Tennessee Titans, though the scoreboard didn’t really reflect that at the end of the day.

The Titans dug themselves an early hole, thanks to some soft defense and a lethargic offensive start. Baker Mayfield started hot, tossing two touchdowns out of the gate to get the Browns rolling.

Before you could settle in to your living room, Cleveland had built a 17-0 lead.

It took Ryan Tannehill until the second quarter to get the chains moving. Tannehill found A.J. Brown for a big gain down the middle, then found Corey Davis on the next play to cut into the Cleveland lead.

However, a busted coverage negated that progress immediately. Donovan Peoples-Jones scored instantly to answer, streaking down the sideline for a 75 yard touchdown.

Just one minute into the second quarter, the Browns held a 24-7 lead. A few minutes later, Mayfield tossed another one, this time to Rashard Higgins. The Titans’ secondary had no answers, and Mayfield just kept firing away.

Nick Chubb added another touchdown for good measure to take us to the halftime break. It was a shocking 38-7 lead after 30 minutes to play — just total domination from the Browns. Mayfield had 290 yards passing and four scores, while Derrick Henry was held to just seven carries for 15 yards.

Cleveland won the time of possession category 21:12 to 8:48 in the first half, if you were wondering just how bad Arthur Smith’s offense was to start the game. The defense, somehow, was worse.

Finally, the Titans showed a little bit of life to open the second half. A three play, 75 yard drive was capped off by a touchdown pass to MyCole Pruitt, cutting into a massive Cleveland lead. A two-point conversion was unsuccessful, keeping the score at 38-13. The Tennessee defense forced a three and out, and Tannehill cashed in quickly one more time.

Very quickly, the Titans slashed the Cleveland lead to 38-21 after a successful two-point conversion.

The Browns didn’t need to find an answer, but they did anyways. Nick Chubb stopped the bleeding on the next drive, flipping the field and putting the Browns in striking distance. However, the Tennessee defense forced a stop, holding Cleveland to three points.

After driving the field and entering the redzone, an Adam Humphries drop turned into an interception, seemingly finishing off the Titans at the end of the third quarter.

Tannehill didn’t stop fighting in the final quarter. He was able to create two touchdown drives to cut the lead down to 41-35, but it was too little, too late.

It was a complete dud of a performance from the Titans, who simply dug themselves too big of a hole in the first quarter. Making matters worse? The Colts beat the Texans this afternoon.

The Titans will be back at it next week against the Jaguars.