The Browns hadn’t won a playoff game since the 2020 postseason entering Saturday’s game against the Texans. Houston hadn’t won a playoff game since the 2019 postseason.
Something had to give during the meeting between the No. 4 seed Texans and No. 5 seed Browns as they met to open the 2024 NFL playoffs.
Ultimately, it was the Texans who prevailed, blowing out the Browns 45-14 to advance to the divisional round of the playoffs.
The Texans’ rebuild is clearly well ahead of schedule. Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud starred once again, notching 274 yards and three touchdowns while posting a 157.2 passer rating against the Browns. Meanwhile, DeMeco Ryans’ defense limited the Browns’ running game to just 56 yards in a win-or-go-home game a week after the team limited the Colts to 17 points in a win-and-in contest.
Meanwhile, the Browns finally saw Joe Flacco struggle after a torrid stretch as the team’s starter. The veteran quarterback signed with the Browns’ practice squad during the year, with injuries depleting Cleveland’s quarterback room and led the team to a 4-1 record in his five starts.
However, Flacco threw two pick-sixes against the Texans to sink the Browns. The first came with the Browns threatening to cut into a 10-point Houston lead while the second came on the ensuing possession.
With the Texans prevailing, all attention will now go to their next opponent as Stroud and Ryans look to make history as the league’s most successful rookie coach and quarterback pairing.
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Here’s a look at who the Texans could face in the divisional round.