3 Takeaways from Browns' Week 2 Win
Although it was a close game until late in the fourth quarter, the Cleveland Browns came out of their home opener with their first win of the season. They'll hope it's the first of many as they look to have a successful 2021.
On Sunday, the Browns pulled out a 31-21 victory over the Houston Texans at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland. Baker Mayfield led the way by passing for 213 yards and a touchdown, also adding a rushing score, while Nick Chubb's 26-yard touchdown run with five minutes, 52 seconds to go sealed the win.
It was a bounce-back showing for Cleveland after it lost its season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Here are three takeaways from the Browns' Week 2 victory.
Felton Gives Browns Another Talented Playmaker
The Browns already had a dynamic two-headed rushing attack with Chubb and Kareem Hunt. But that didn't stop them from taking running back Demetric Felton in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL draft. And it seems like that may have been a wise decision on their part.
Felton didn't make much of an impact in his NFL debut last week, only touching the ball on special teams. However, he showed Sunday how he can boost Cleveland's offense, as he had two receptions for 51 yards, including a 33-yard catch that resulted in his first career touchdown.
Although Felton hasn't been with the Browns long, his teammates weren't surprised by his impact.
"Those are things I always knew he could do," Chubb said, per Andrew Gribble of the Browns' official website. "I'm glad he showed everyone here he can do it."
While Chubb (95 rushing yards and a touchdown) and Hunt (51 rushing yards) will continue to get the majority of touches out of Cleveland's backfield, Felton may carve out a role of his own, particularly in the passing game. And that could lead to more positive results for him moving forward.
Wide Receiver Corps Takes Another Big Injury Hit
It may be important for the Browns to develop Felton as a strong receiving option because they're banged up at wide receiver, and their health worsened on Sunday.
Odell Beckham Jr. was out for the second straight week as he still hasn't returned from the ACL tear he suffered last season. Meanwhile, Jarvis Landry exited Sunday's game with an MCL injury that will require further testing to determine the severity.
"You do not ever want to lose Jarvis Landry from your football team," Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski said, per Dan Labbe of Cleveland.com. "Hopefully, he is back real soon. He is another leader on this football team. I think he was on his way to having a good day. We will just see what the MRI looks like in the morning."
Perhaps Beckham will return soon. But even if he does, he may not immediately be at full strength. The only Browns wide receivers other than Landry (one reception for nine yards) who caught passes on Sunday were Rashard Higgins (two receptions for 27 yards) and Donovan Peoples-Jones (one reception for 14 yards).
Cleveland has strong running backs and several solid tight ends, but it could still hurt its offense to not have some big-time playmakers at wide receiver in the weeks to come.
Browns' Defense Flashes Its Potential
Cleveland's defense didn't perform its best on Sunday. Houston amassed 302 yards and had no trouble moving the ball early thanks to veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who went 10-for-11 for 125 yards and a touchdown before leaving because of a hamstring injury.
The Browns struggled to force pressure, generating only one sack, and they didn't display the type of dominance you'd expect to see from them against a team like the Texans, who turned to rookie Davis Mills at QB following Taylor's departure. But there were positives for Cleveland, too, most notably the debut of a 2020 second-round draft pick.
Grant Delpit played in his first NFL game after the safety missed all of 2020 with an Achilles tear and then missed Week 1 of 2021 because of a hamstring injury. He wasted no time making an impact, as he had five tackles and a sack, which came late in the fourth quarter and caused Mills to fumble, helping the Browns preserve their 10-point lead.
"I thought that was great," Stefanski said, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. "It was good to see him get some reps, and first time out there playing to make a big play when we needed it. I thought he did a nice job. We’ll have to grow that role as we go."
If Delpit keeps getting more opportunities and excels as the Browns' defense also gets in more of a rhythm, it could lead to big things for the team on that side of the ball down the line.