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Sports

Injuries and Turnovers Haunt the Browns as They Lose Their Second Straight Game

 The Cleveland Browns play the Arizona Cardinals at FirstEnergy Stadium in Week 6 of the 2021 NFL season.
Matt Starkey
/
Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns play the Arizona Cardinals at FirstEnergy Stadium in Week 6 of the 2021 NFL season.

Last week, the Cleveland Browns broke their early-season three game winning streak with a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

As they do after every loss (and in Cleveland, after every game), questions about Baker Mayfield's injury, Odell Beckham Jr., and the Browns defense dominated the headlines.

This week, after their 37-14 loss against early MVP favorite Kyler Murray the Arizona Cardinals, Mayfield seemed to have reaggravated his left shoulder and had three turnovers, Beckham Jr. made some big catches but also had a drop in a key situation, and the defense gave up 35+ points for the second straight game.

First half
Mayfield and the Browns offense failed to get a first down to start the game. An early stop by the Cardinals defense forced a punt.

After seemingly easily driving on the Browns defense, Murray threw a tight corner of the end zone spiral to Christian Kirk for a 21-yard touchdown.

After driving the majority of the field this time, the Browns offense still failed to score. Kevin Stefanski continued his aggressive play calling and went for it on fourth-and-three — which did not pay off thanks to a sack by the Cardinals.

The next Cardinals drive didn't have much offense, but they were able to drive the field off of a few key penalties called against the Browns defense.

This set up a 13-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins, who juked and plowed his way to the end zone. The Cardinals led 14-0 to start the second quarter.

Mayfield coughed up a fumble on the second play of their drive, giving it right back to the Cardinals offense. A quick failed drive still ended in three points off the leg of Matt Prater for 17-0 Arizona lead.

Mayfield threw an easy interception, setting the Cardinals up well within Browns' territory. They scored again off the leg of Prater to stretch the lead to 20-0.

The next drive for the Browns seemed to finally light the match for the offense, thanks to key runs by Kareem Hunt. On third-and-goal, Mayfield tossed it to Donovan Peoples-Jones, who bulldozed his way for the touchdown. An extra point brought the Browns closer, 20-7.

The Cardinals then drove for another Prater field goal — bringing their led to 23-7.

With :43 left in the half, Mayfield and the Browns needed to drive the length of the field. A couple short passes didn't help, so Mayfield tossed a Hail Mary into the end zone with :03 left.

Peoples-Jones hauled it in for a 57-yard touchdown right at the goal line — his second of the game. An extra point brought the Cardinals deficit down to nine, 23-14 at halftime.

Second half
The Cardinals offense struggled to make anything happen to open the second half. A quick three-and-out by the Browns, then by the Cardinals, made it seem as though the offenses stalled completely out of halftime.

A drive involving big catches by Beckham Jr. and Peoples-Jones was halted after another Mayfield fumble. Mayfield appeared to reaggravate his torn labrum on his non-throwing shoulder.

Mayfield went inside the blue medical tent and quickly reemerged just in time to see the Cardinals scored on a pass to a wide open Hopkins in the end zone, extending their lead to 30-14.

Methodically driving the field, the Browns found themselves unable to score in a critical position. A drop on fourth down by Beckham Jr. gave the ball back to the Cardinals — already up 16. On top of the turnover, Hunt appeared to injure his calf, and was eventually taken by a cart to the locker room.

Slowly eating clock and driving the field, the Cardinals were able to score again off Murray's 14-yard touchdown toss to A.J. Green. After the extra point — they led 37-14.

The score remained 37-14 to end the game. The Arizona Cardinals moved to 6-0 and face the Houston Texans next week.

The Browns (3-3) have a quick turnaround, hosting the Denver Broncos (3-3) on Thursday Night.

Player of the Game:
Kyler Murray: 20/30 229 4 TD Passes