Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked five field goals and the host Houston Texans converted all three Baker Mayfield interceptions into points in their 29-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at NRG Stadium.
The Texans extended their franchise-best winning streak to nine games by capitalizing on the Browns’ error-prone rookie quarterback. Mayfield allowed more return yards on his three interceptions (56) than he produced passing (46) prior to the intermission. By the time Mayfield engineered a 75-yard touchdown drive to open the second half, the Browns trailed 23-0.
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson completed his opening 11 pass attempts as Houston scored to conclude its first two possessions. Fairbairn converted a 35-yard kick at the 8:12 mark of the first quarter for a 3-0 lead before Watson went 4 of 4 for 62 yards on the ensuing drive, capped by his 11-yard scoring pass to rookie tight end Jordan Thomas with 38 seconds left in the first quarter. Watson set a franchise record with at least one touchdown pass in 17 consecutive games, surpassing the previous mark of 16 held by Matt Schaub.
Mayfield followed with his first interception, with Texans linebacker Zach Cunningham making a tremendous one-handed snag before scampering 38 yards for a touchdown. Cunningham was initially ruled out of bounds at the 1-yard line following his first career interception, but a replay review awarded him the score and extended the Texans lead to 17-0 with 7:24 left in the half.
Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph followed with an interception that he returned 18 yards which ultimately yielded a 42-yard Fairbairn kick. Fairbairn added a 48-yarder with one second remaining in the first half to cash in on a pick by Texans safety Andre Hal, his first interception since returning from an extended absence after his offseason Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosis.
Fairbairn delivered field goals of 53 and 38 yards in the second half.
Mayfield opened the second half 10 of 10 for 219 yards and finished with 397 passing yards and a touchdown pass. Watson passed for 224 yards but was sacked four times while Lamar Miller rushed for 103 yards for the Texans, who extended their lead in the AFC South to three games with four remaining following the Indianapolis Colts’ 6-0 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.