The Browns followed defending Super Bowl champions Kansas City Chiefs 19-3 at halftime on Sunday after a controversial game with broad receiver Rashard Higgins scored a 10-point strike in an AFC division round match at Arrowhead Stadium.
With the Browns 16-3 down and finishing first and tenth on the Kansas City 26-yard line, quarterback Baker Mayfield linked up with Higgins for a touchdown. But when Higgins dived for the right pylon, Chiefs Safety Daniel Sorensen hit him on 1 and Higgins fumbled through the end zone to get a touchback at 1:34 in the second quarter. The game was confirmed by a repeat evaluation.
As a rule, Sorensen’s hit from helmet to helmet on Higgins could not be verified.
So the Chiefs took command at the age of 20 and marched towards a field goal shortly before the end of the first half.
A week after the Steelers spotted essentially seven points of the Browns with a shotgun in the end zone in the first game after the scrimmage, the Chiefs took advantage of Cleveland winning and deferring the coin toss by taking an early lead. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes finished the 10-player opening run with 75 yards and a 1-yard touchdown on the right. Harrison Butker missed the extra point, so that the Chiefs led with 9:11 in the first quarter 6-0.
The Browns responded with a drive of 12 games, 47 meters. In second and twelfth places at Kansas City 22, Mayfield was sacked due to a 9-yard loss from rookie cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, who was unblocked due to lightning. Two games later, the Browns decided on Cody Parkey’s 46-yard field goal and a 6-3 deficit with 2:41 in the opening quarter.
The Chiefs fired back without hesitation by producing a 75-yard, seven-game drive. In second and 19th places, Travis Kelce defeated Denzel Ward for protection, the cornerback slipping and falling, and caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes. Butker made the extra point and the Chiefs took the lead 13:48 in the second quarter with 13:48.
Mahomes injured his left big toe during the possession and had it checked out by medical staff after the series, CBS side reporter Tracy Wolfson said on TV.
The Browns stopped at their second possession. Right guard Wyatt Teller pulled a hold penalty, Nick Chubb dropped two consecutive passes, Mayfield hit the ball near the scrimmage line in third and twentieth places, and Jamie Gillan stumbled onto Kansas City 15.
The Browns held the Chiefs at a field gate on the following drive, with the defensive end Adrian Clayborn striking back Darrel Williams for a 5 yard loss on a pass on the third screen. Butker scored a 50-yard goal, the longest in playoff history at Arrowhead Stadium, and the Chiefs extended their lead to 16-3 with 3:09 in the second quarter.
The Browns had a chance to cut the Chiefs lead to 16-10 the next time possession, but the controversial game that led to a Higgins fumble ruined the opportunity.
The Chiefs set up another butker field goal and he kicked it from 28 yards two seconds ahead in the second quarter to give the Chiefs a 16-point lead at halftime.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at [email protected]. He reported on Sunday’s game from home because of the pandemic.