NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 15 Game Recap: Cleveland Browns 20, Chicago Bears 17

2TCKJ43 Cleveland Browns quarterback Joe Flacco (15) looks downfield during NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The Chicago Bears carried their momentum into a key matchup with the Cleveland Browns that had wild-card implications for both teams, especially the Browns, who are squarely in the hunt in the AFC playoff picture after last week’s win over Jacksonville.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields made a bunch of plays in the first half but was stymied by the Browns' defense in the second half. Joe Flacco and the Browns' offense made enough plays in the second half to steal a 20-17 victory away from Chicago and win an important game to keep their playoff hopes alive and well.

Offensive spotlight: Browns tight end David Njoku was a focal point of the Browns' passing game all afternoon amid the Browns offensive line being decimated by injuries, with stalwart left guard Joel Bitonio also going down with an injury in this game. Njoku finished with 10 receptions for 104 yards and a score, and Amari Cooper stepped up with 109 yards and a touchdown on four big receptions.

Bears tight end Cole Kmet got free on a scramble drill from Justin Fields and toe-tapped his way to a touchdown in the left corner of the end zone for the first score of the game, with Fields demonstrating his remarkable elusiveness to evade a would-be sack from Myles Garrett on third-and-goal. Fields made a handful of beautiful passes in the first half of this game, including a bomb to a wide-open Robert Tonyan that was as bad a drop as you’ll see at the NFL level. However, undeterred, Fields bounced back with a strike to D.J. Moore on a back-shoulder ball down the left sideline for a first down.

Defensive spotlight: Browns cornerback Greg Newsome II dominated in coverage throughout the first half, making a key pass breakup on Darnell Mooney after he got a bit of separation down the left sideline. The Browns' defense stepped up big in the second half to shut the door, with linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah getting home for a sack and intercepting one of two Hail Mary throws.

The Bears' defense was once again flying all over the field, and they should’ve had as many as five interceptions in this game with Joe Flacco delivering Christmas gifts all over the field. Safety Eddie Jackson picked off a pass deep in Browns territory that set up Chicago’s first touchdown, and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds housed a pick-six early in the second half. Edge defender Montez Sweat was also generating consistent pressure throughout this game in a favorable matchup against the Browns' fourth and fifth tackles, causing a throwaway on an early third-and-10 and getting home for a sack-fumble as well as another sack and a half.

Rookie spotlight: Bears rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson had one of three interceptions of Joe Flacco and limited outside wide receivers not named Amari Cooper for much of the afternoon.

Browns rookie wide receiver Cedric Tillman may have run the wrong route on Joe Flacco’s first interception but came up with big grabs in a few key moments and finished with 52 yards on four receptions.


Box Score

Passing
Chicago Bears
Player Fantasy Comp/Att Yds YPA TD Int Long Sacks Rtg
Justin Fields 11.64 19 / 40 166 4.2 1 2 30 3 46.5
Cleveland Browns
Player Fantasy Comp/Att Yds YPA TD Int Long Sacks Rtg
Joe Flacco 22.86 28 / 44 374 8.5 2 3 57 4 77.3
Dorian Thompson-Robinson 0.2 1 / 1 5 5 0 0 5 0 87.5
Rushing
Chicago Bears
Player Fantasy Car Yds YPC TD Long Fum Lost
Justin Fields 11.64 7 30 4.3 0 15 0
Roschon Johnson 10 5 36 7.2 0 22 0
Tyler Scott 7.6 1 -3 -3 0 0 0
Velus Jones Jr. 2.3 2 23 11.5 0 15 0
Khalil Herbert 2.2 6 8 1.3 0 7 0
D'Onta Foreman -0.6 6 -6 -1 0 2 0
Cleveland Browns
Player Fantasy Car Yds YPC TD Long Fum Lost
Joe Flacco 22.86 1 -1 -1 0 0 0
Jerome Ford 7.1 8 20 2.5 0 9 0
Pierre Strong Jr. 3.1 2 2 1 0 2 0
Kareem Hunt 3 7 8 1.1 0 3 0
Receiving
Chicago Bears
Player Fantasy Tgt Rec Yds YPT YPR TD Long
Cole Kmet 13.3 7 5 23 3.3 4.6 1 8
Roschon Johnson 10 6 4 24 4 6 0 12
DJ Moore 9.2 8 4 52 6.5 13 0 27
Tyler Scott 7.6 4 3 49 12.2 16.3 0 30
Darnell Mooney 3.4 8 2 14 1.8 7 0 9
Khalil Herbert 2.2 1 1 4 4 4 0 4
Robert Tonyan 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cleveland Browns
Player Fantasy Tgt Rec Yds YPT YPR TD Long
David Njoku 29.4 14 10 104 7.4 10.4 1 34
Amari Cooper 23.9 8 4 109 13.6 27.2 1 51
Cedric Tillman 9.2 8 4 52 6.5 13 0 19
Jerome Ford 7.1 5 4 11 2.2 2.8 0 5
Marquise Goodwin 6.7 1 1 57 57 57 0 57
Elijah Moore 3.7 3 2 17 5.7 8.5 0 11
Pierre Strong Jr. 3.1 2 2 9 4.5 4.5 0 7
Kareem Hunt 3 1 1 12 12 12 0 12
Jordan Akins 1.8 1 1 8 8 8 0 8
Harrison Bryant 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
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