Texans run for team-record 261 yards to rout Browns
HOUSTON (AP) — Colt McCoy had high hopes for his first NFL start in the state where he starred for the Texas Longhorns.
He left feeling awfully low.
Things went wrong immediately for McCoy and the Cleveland Browns. They fell behind 14-0 midway through the first quarter and the Houston Texans went on to a 30-12 win on Sunday.
It’s the second straight game in which the Browns got into an early hole that they were unable to overcome.
“We spend the whole week working on … things that you’re going to do and then both times you have to completely abandon that and get into something else because you’re down two touchdowns,” McCoy said. “We’re not good enough to overcome that. We’ve got to figure out a way to not let that happen, because then all of the sudden, you’re out of synch, out of rhythm and it’s hard.”
Arian Foster rushed for 124 yards and Ben Tate ran for 115 and both scored touchdowns to lead the Texans. The Texans (6-3) finished with a franchise-record 261 yards rushing. It was the first time the Browns allowed two 100-yard rushers in the same game since the Baltimore Colts did it against them in 1956.
The Browns (3-5) totaled 172 yards and McCoy was sacked four times and completed only 14 passes for 146 yards with an interception.
“They came from the first snap to the last and it’s frustrating,” McCoy said. “But I have to keep hanging in there, keep fighting and we’ll overcome it.”
He got little support from former Texas teammate Chris Ogbonnaya, who started in place of injured running backs Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty. Ogbonnaya fumbled on his first carry, and finished with 28 yards on 13 carries.
“It hurts. I put us in a hole,” Ogbonnaya said of the fumble. “I can’t make those mistakes. I have to be better.”
Browns coach Pat Shurmur said Hillis will undergo treatment Monday after aggravating his strained left hamstring on Friday. Shurmur said the Browns “have not discussed” putting the beleaguered Hillis on injured reserve, a move that would end his stormy season.
Hillis, in the final year of his rookie contract, spoke publicly about negotiating a new deal. He missed a game with strep throat, then was injured a few weeks later.
Shurmur dismissed the notion that Hillis, who has missed three straight games, has become a distraction.
“When a guy’s not there for whatever reason, and in Peyton’s case he’s injured, you move on,” Shurmur said. “I think our guys have been through this process before. As a coach I’ve been through it. So in this case I don’t think it had anything to do mentally with the team.”
The Texans went up 7-0 when Tate weaved his way through the Browns’ defense for a 27-yard touchdown run on their first series.
The Browns 25th-ranked offense was inept early, with Ogbonnaya losing the ball on Cleveland’s first play from scrimmage. Defensive end J.J. Watt recovered at the Browns 28, and Schaub scrambled for another score for a 14-0 lead less than 8 minutes into the game.
Joshua Cribbs delivered Cleveland’s biggest play of the half, a 63-yard kickoff return. He was flagged for grabbing Brice McCain’s face mask, though, and the Browns settled for Phil Dawson’s 50-yard field goal.
The Browns have scored only six points in the first quarter this season.
Tate had a 9-yard run before Foster had a 19-yard touchdown with 8:06 left in the first half.
Texans safety Quintin Demps intercepted McCoy on the second-to-last play of the half, setting up Neil Rackers’ 28-yard field goal that made it 24-3.
McCoy was sacked twice and Cleveland’s offense produced 70 yards in the first half.
Dawson and Rackers added field goals to make it 30-6, and McCoy finally got the Browns moving with a 20-yard pass to Cribbs in the fourth quarter.
McCoy took a hard hit from Reed after throwing a 24-yard pass to Greg Little to the Houston 5, and McCoy found Cribbs for a touchdown with 4:51 left. The 2-point conversion attempt failed.
The Browns finished with 10 first downs.
“The good thing is that we have some talent, we’re working hard and we’re finishing games as hard as we can,” McCoy said. “I think that’s about the only positive we got right now.”
NOTES: Cleveland WR Mohamed Massaquoi, who missed last week’s game after sustaining a concussion two weeks ago, was taken out of Sunday’s game late in the third quarter after feeling woozy. Shurmur said he was not hit, but was simply taken out as a precaution. … Defensive back T.J. Ward injured a hand and a foot, but Shurmur didn’t have any other details about the injuries. … OL Tony Pashos injured his right knee and linebacker Kaluka Maiava also injured a knee and Shurmur said they would be evaluated on Monday.