First place fallout: Texans defeat Browns, 23-7

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CLEVELAND (AP) — J.J. Watt caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Mallett, dominated on defense and the Houston Texans climbed back to .500 with a 23-7 win over the Cleveland on Sunday.

Watt was all over the field. Along with his TD, he recorded a strip sack, made five tackles — three for a loss — recovered a fumble and hurried Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer into several bad throws. Watt provided more proof he’s the NFL’s best defensive player.

Mallett threw a pair of TD passes and finished with 211 yards in his first career start. The four-year veteran was promoted during the bye week after the Texans (5-5) benched Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The Texans played without star running back Arian Foster because of a groin injury, but rookie Alfred Blue stepped in and gained 156 yards on a franchise-record 36 carries.

The Browns (6-4) won’t spend a second straight week atop the AFC North. They lost for just the second time in seven games, and Watt is the main reason why.

 

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