NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Cleveland Browns had a score to settle with the Tennessee Titans and jumped on them from the very beginning. The Browns beat the Titans by using trickery on offense, dialing up play-action passes for big plays, and generating turnovers on defense -- areas where the Titans usually excel themselves -- en route to a 41-35 win at Nissan Stadium.
The Titans fell to 8-4 and have the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoff race. The Titans and Colts have the same record but the Titans have the tiebreaker over the Colts because they're 3-1 in the AFC South while the Colts are 2-2.
A costly fumble by running back Derrick Henry on the Titans' second possession led to Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield's second touchdown of the day when he found offensive lineman Kendall Lamm on a tackle-eligible play for a 1-yard score to take a 17-0 lead.
Cleveland jumped out to an early lead and scored either a touchdown or field goal on their first six possessions. The Browns moved the ball at will, picking up 458 yards of total offense and 26 first downs. Mayfield finished with 334 passing yards on 24 completions to go along with four touchdown passes.
It was another frustrating performance by a defensive unit that is unable to consistently generate a pass rush. The Titans failed to register a single sack on Mayfield and only have 14 sacks on the year.
Describe the game in two words: Total letdown. The Titans came out and played uninspired football from the start and gave up 38 first-half points to the Browns which were the second-most by any team this season. Tennessee tried to mount a comeback but they were no match for the Browns even after making some second-half adjustments.
Buy on a breakout performance: Titans WR Corey Davis continues his quest for his first 1,000-yard receiving season. His 11 receptions for a season-high 182 yards put him at 801 yards for the season. Davis caught the ball with confidence and consistently picked up yards after the catch. The fourth-year wideout is enjoying his best season and has become a reliable option for Ryan Tannehill.
Troubling trend: The third-down issues continue to hamper the Titans' defense. Whether it's third-and-long or third-and-short, opposing teams have been able to covert way too often against Tennessee. Browns pass-catchers were able to constantly find windows against zone coverage and beat Titans defenders when they went to man defense, as well. Cleveland converted on 10 of their 16 third-down opportunities.
Pivotal play: The tide turned early for the Titans when Henry was stopped on a fourth-and-1 on their first possession of the game. Henry took the handoff and was tripped up in the backfield but appeared to fall forward enough for the first down. The officials spotted the ball short of the first down but the Titans challenged the spot and lost. Cleveland took over at their 41-yard line and drove 59 yards to take a 10-0 lead on a 2-yard pass from Mayfield to Jarvis Landry.