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Browns’ Defense Dominates First Half, Cardinals Down 13-0

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The Arizona Cardinals were on the road against the Cleveland Browns. This was the debut for Cardinals rookie quarterback Clayton Tune going against the furious Browns defense. That defense is headlined by one of, if not, the best defensive players in the league, Myles Garrett. How did it play out for the Cardinals?

First Quarter

Clayton Tune didn’t have to wait long to get on the field as the Cardinals received the opening kickoff. After running the ball on first down. Tune completed his first pass on a play-action rollout to tight end Trey McBride. Arizona ran the ball on three of the first four plays. Looked like establishing the run was a big part of the strategy. The drive stalled out around mid-field and Arizona was forced to punt.

The Browns looked to establish the run as well as they started their opening drive with two runs. On third and three, Browns quarterback Deshawn Watson made a nifty play as he avoided a sack and found running back Jerome Ford for a short pass that turned into a long gain. On the following play, there was a holding penalty that stifled the momentum of the drive. They were forced to punt at their own 41-yard line.

Arizona started the next drive on their own 18-yard line with 8:24 left in the quarter. Tune showed off his 4.6 40 time on the first play as he was forced to scramble outside the pocket and gain two yards. On the next play Rondale Moore was stuffed in the back field which led to a third and 12.

Where a screen pass was dropped by Tony Jones Jr. Cardinals were forced to punt.

The Browns continued to put in work with the run game. They started the drive with back to back runs. This was followed by three straight passes for short gains. This led to a fourth and three that Cleveland attempt to convert. Watson’s pass fell short of the targeted wide receiver as a blitzing Budda Baker forced a rushed pass.

The Cardinals started the next drive on their own 36-yard line after the turnover on downs by the Browns. Tune was sacked on the first play for a loss of 10 yards. Arizona did not recover from that sack the drive was a three and out.

The score was still 0-0 with two minutes left in the quarter. Watson made the first big play of the game hitting Amari Cooper down the field for a 59-yard gain.

At the end of the first quarter the Browns were on the Cardinals 16 yard line as the score was still tied at 0.

Second Quarter

The quarter started with a quick screen pass to tight end David Njoku who was tackled by Baker for the Cardinals. This led to a 30-yard field goal attempt by Dustin Hopkins. The field goal attempt was good. Browns were up 3-0 with 14 minutes left in the first half.

The Cardinals were not able to move the ball to start their first drive of the second quarter but were saved by a face mask penalty. They were not able to take advantage of the break as Tune overthrew his target on the next play. That overthrown was picked off by Denzel Ward.

Cleveland started the next possession with great field position on the Cardinals 49-yard line. The drive started off well as the Browns moved the ball down the field. The drive ended on a once in a generation type play as Watson’s pass was deflected by a Cardinals defensive lineman and somehow still landed in Cooper’s hands for a touchdown. The Browns were up 10-0 with 6:48 left in the second quarter.

It is better to be more lucky than good sometimes. On the following drive there was a very questionable offensive pass interference call that wiped away a 26-yard gain that would of kept the drive alive. The drive ended on the next play.

Cleveland was unable to move the ball at all on their drive. The Cardinals got the ball back very quickly but the Browns defense continued to dominate. At the two minute warning the game was still 10-0 Browns as the Cardinals were facing a third and 19 on their own 15-yard line. Tune was sacked on that play which led to another punt.

This was the fifth punt by the Cardinals in the first half. The other possession was ended by a thrown interception.

The Browns were struggling to move the ball on their drive until a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty. They would take advantage of the penalty and drive into field goal range. Hopkins would make a 45-yard field goal to close out the half. Cleveland was up 13-0.

Players of the Half

Amari Cooper was huge for the Browns as he had three catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. The Browns defense has to be acknowledged as a whole unit. They held the Cardinals to a total of 31 yards gained in the half.


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