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Garrett No-Shows, Browns Routed by Texans



Steelers Browns Myles Garrett
Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett runs out of the tunnel for a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 19, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Houston Texans dismantled the Cleveland Browns, 45-14, in Saturday afternoon’s Wild Card Game at NRG Stadium. Joe Flacco’s magical run and the Browns’ season comes to a halt. That might have not been the case if it wasn’t for Mike Ford disrespecting the Terrible Towel following Cleveland’s 13-10 win over the Steelers on Nov. 19. The Curse lives on.


Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud had a banner day, completing 16 of 21 passes (76.2%) for 274 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions, and a passer rating of 157.2. Stroud is the youngest QB (22 years, 102 days) in history to win a playoff game. He passed Michael Vick, who was 22 years, 192 days old in 2002 when his Atlanta Falcons beat the Green Bay Packers. Stroud’s three touchdown passes tied a rookie playoff record and his 157.2 quarterback rating is the fourth-highest in playoff history.

The Browns came into Sunday’s game with one of the best defenses in the league, but they’re a different unit on the road. Cleveland allowed the fewest points per game in home games (13.9), but allowed the second-most points per game on the road (29.4). Stroud threw for 236 yards and three touchdowns before halftime as the Texans led 24-14. He threw a 15-yard touchdown to Nico Collins, a 76-yarder to Brevin Jordan for a score and 37-yard touchdown to Dalton Schultz.

Former Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson had the turning point of the game with an 82-yard pick-six on Flacco in the third quarter to enhance the Texans’ lead to 31-14. The Texans’ defense wasn’t done, however, as linebacker Christian Harris returned a Flacco interception for a touchdown on the next drive to give Houston a commanding 24-point lead. Those two plays put the game away, and with the Texans up 45-14 with nine minutes to go, Stroud was replaced by Davis Mills.

NFL Defensive Player of the Year favorite Myles Garrett was nowhere to be found, recording just three tackles (2 solos). He had no sacks, tackles for loss and quarterback hits. He also collected two offside penalties. It simply was not a good performance for Garrett in the biggest game of the year.