After a 37-minute delay due to lightning, the Cleveland Browns outlasted the Houston Texans through the wind and rain at home to win the non-divisional matchup 10-7.
Cleveland improved to 6-3 on the season while Houston fell to 2-7.
The Browns kicked a field goal on their first possession and scored a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter and although Houston answered the fourth-quarter score, it failed to convert a fourth-and-goal opportunity on the two-yard line and missed a 46-yard field goal in the first half and didn’t have enough time to finish the comeback.
Texans interim head coach Romeo Crennel said the sustained winds affected some decisions as well as deep passes from quarterback Deshaun Watson.
“I think that in the second half, particularly when we started off with the wind in the third quarter, we had a couple of downfield passes where guys were open but the wind carried the ball so it was an overthrow or it moved it off track. Those are plays that would have changed field position and maybe put points on the board that we didn’t hit,” Crennel said.
The signal-caller said it certainly had an impact but said the wind wasn’t what prevented them from winning the game.
“It is definitely a factor in the game, but I don’t want to sit here and make excuses on that is the reason why we didn’t capitalize. That is not the reason,” Watson said. “We had opportunities. We just didn’t make enough plays fast enough to be able to try to give us a chance to win. That was the key, but it is really tough.”
Houston defensive end J.J. Watt said the defense expected a heavy dose of the run game, especially in the second half, but wasn’t pleased with the end result where Browns running backs Nick Chubb (126 yards) and Kareem Hunt (104 yards) both finished with more than 100 yards on 19 carries each.
“We knew what kind of game it was going to be. Obviously, with the weather being what it was, it was going to be a run and play-action type of game and we were going to have to matriculate the ball down the field. Frustrating,” Watt said. “Frustrating, obviously, and not where we wanted to end up.”
The Texans return to NRG Stadium this week to host the New England Patriots who collected a win over Baltimore last Sunday to notch their second win in a row and snapped a four-game losing streak to improve the overall record to 4-5.
When asked what the approach would be heading into this week of practice with a 2-7 record, Watson said, “The same way we if we were 7-2 – go to work, put our heads down, grind, just keep working hard and play each game to the last seconds,” he said. “There is nothing that you really can change. If we were sitting with a better record, I would be saying the same thing. Keep my head held high. Keep working. Keep trying to encourage and stay as healthy as possible.”