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'I felt really weak in that moment': Amari Cooper perseveres from big drop to huge catch

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

CLEVELAND − The ball was in Amari Cooper's hands, and then on the ground. So, too, was what many thought was a prime chance to keep their hopes alive against Tampa Bay.

It would've been a fourth-down conversion inside the Buccaneers' 30 with just over eight minutes left and the Browns down seven. Instead, it looked like it was heading to just another loss for the Browns.

While fans were shouting a deity's name in vain at that moment, Cooper was falling back on his own spiritual beliefs.

"I felt really weak in that moment, you know what I mean?," Cooper admitted after the Browns rallied for a 23-17 overtime win. "The team depending on me, fourth down, it was just like, what does that say about me? Big time players make big time plays in big time situations, and I feel like I let the team down. And then also it was something that Jordan (Kunaszyk), our teammate, said in a prayer before the game. He was just like, he quoted a quote from the book of James and he was like, consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds, because you know it produces faith and perseverance, and that's all I kept thinking about. So I knew I had to persevere after that drop."

That perseverance came in the form of the play that put the Browns in position to win Sunday's game. A play that, Cooper admits, was a "ballsy" call to make.

The Browns were facing a third-and-4 from the Buccaneers 48 with less than a minutes remaining in overtime when Cooper motion from out wide to the right of the formation to the back left receiver in a triangle bunch tight to the formation. He initially ran diagonally off the snap but, as cornerback Carlton Davis III closed in, did a double move toward the inside, then back outside.

The move left Davis stumbling, and Cooper wide open. Jacoby Brissett laid the ball perfectly into Cooper's hands, and he ran to the Tampa Bay 3 before being knocked out of bounds by safety Dee Delaney.

“(Davis) failed the first time, got up and fell again," safety John Johnson III said. "That was a great play. I thought (Cooper) was going to score, but you know he has been doing that all year, and that was a great corner he went against so it was unbelievable.”

It was really unbelievable for the Browns two plays later. That's when Nick Chubb ended the game with a 3-yard touchdown run with 19 seconds left in overtime

Amari Cooper's drop could have allowed Tom Brady, Buccaneers to put away the game

A littler more than a quarter before that, Cooper's drop gave Tom Brady and the Buccaneers offense the ball back with 8:20 remaining in regulation and the potential to make it a two-score game. Yet, in that moment, it was a faith in Cooper from another Browns player that set the tone for the later redemption.

Browns receiver Amari Cooper reacts after quarterback Jacoby Brissett threw an interception as time expired in the first half against the Buccaneers, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Cleveland.

That faith came from his quarterback. “I told him I was coming back to him, and I did,” Brissett said.

The reality is that Brissett wasted almost no time going back to Cooper. On the very next series, with the Browns facing third-and-10 from their own 5, the duo connected on a 12-yard gain for a first down.

That was the first of two third-down catches for Cooper, who came in tied for eighth in third-down receptions with 15. The other one may have been one of his biggest catches of the season, the 45-yarder in overtime.

Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper can't get his hands on an overthrown pass ahead of Buccaneers cornerback Jamel Dean during the first half, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Cleveland.

A catch which, Cooper admits, was a test of faith.

"Again, that faith produced perseverance," said Cooper, who finished with seven catches on 12 targets for 94 yards. "That's the best way I could describe it. I just had faith that I would be able to come back and make a play and not drop another ball, you know what I mean? But it felt amazing. Caught the slant − first of all, shout out to (coach) Kevin (Stefanski), that's a ballsy play to call in that situation, just for believing in us − had a double move drew up knowing that if I ran it the right way it would be a big play. So yeah, it felt good."

Contact Chris at

On Twitter: @ceasterlingABJ

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Browns' Amari Cooper leans on faith after drop vs Buccaneers and on

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