Big days from rookies Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb paved the way for a Browns win by a final score of 28-16. That sends Cleveland into the bye week with a 3-6-1 record, and gives interim head coach Gregg Williams his first win. Remember how long it took Hue Jackson to get his first win?
The Browns scored their first opening quarter touchdown of the season in Week 10, coming on their second drive of the game. The drive went 8 plays, 88 yards, capped off with a 28-yard touchdown pass from QB Baker Mayfield to WR Rashard Higgins. The extra point gave Cleveland a 7-0 lead.
The Falcons got in range for a 40-yard field goal in the second quarter on the next drive to cut the lead to 7-3. Freddie Kitchens got creative on Cleveland’s next drive, deploying a full house formation with RB Duke Johnson, RB Nick Chubb, and RB Dontrell Hilliard all involved. It was going well for the first six plays of the drive, but on the seventh play, a trick play was called as Hilliard tried to throw the wheel route to Mayfield. The pass was intercepted by the safety, who returned it to midfield.
Several plays later, QB Matt Ryan hit WR Julio Jones for a 1-yard touchdown pass to give the Falcons a 10-7 lead.
Julio Jones wills it in! pic.twitter.com/3XZsCdj3d8— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) November 11, 2018
But Cleveland responded to close out the first half. With under two minutes to go, Mayfield found Chubb for a misdirection screen pass that went for a 12-yard touchdown to take a 14-10 lead. That completed a perfect first half for Mayfield, who was 12-of-12 for 165 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Atlanta tried to drive before the end of the half, but a sack by the Browns thwarted that. The Falcons still got the ball first to begin the second half. After a completion to WR Mohamed Sanu, Sanu fought for extra yardage and ended up getting stripped of the ball.
With the short field, Mayfield had the Browns in a 3rd-and-6 situation from the 11 yard line. Mayfield dropped back and found Johnson over the middle, who ran it in for the touchdown to give Cleveland a 21-10 lead.
The Browns forced a punt after Atlanta got the ball, pinning the offense back at the 8 yard line. After an incompletion by Mayfield, he handed the ball off to Chubb on second down, who broke away for a 92-yard touchdown for a 28-10 lead mid-way through the third quarter! It was the longest touchdown run in franchise history.
You get nervous as a Browns fan that the team will give it right back. But with an 18-point lead, they didn’t, forcing a quick punt instead. As the Browns were driving, Johnson fumbled on a run play in which offensive holding was also called. However, replay review indicated that Johnson’s knee was down. The holding penalty then applied, making it 1st-and-20. Eventually, Cleveland had to punt, and Atlanta drove past midfield heading into the final quarter of play.
The Falcons drove to the goal line, but a perfect stick by SS Jabrill Peppers at the inch line to the running back forced a 3rd-and-goal from the 1 yard line. LB Joe Schobert stuffed the run on third down, and then on fourth down, he knocked the end zone pass away for a turnover on downs.
The Browns had two false starts before they could get a play off, but it didn’t matter since the ball was already inside the 1 yard line. Mayfield got the team out of danger zone with a first-down pass to Callaway. The drive would go no further, punting with under nine minutes to go in the game.
The Falcons finally got into the end zone again with 4:24 to go on a 3-yard touchdown pass to TE Amari Hooper, but credit the Browns’ defense with more stops inside the red zone to force more time off the clock. In fact, that was a fourth down play for the touchdown, one in which Cleveland would’ve had Hooper stopped short if the defender had gone for the tackle instead of defending the pass. The score was now 28-16 with Cleveland looking to close things out.
Cleveland went three-and-out, but the Browns prevented another score after a fourth down sack and recovery by the Browns.
- QB Baker Mayfield: 17-of-20 (85%) for 216 yards, 3 touchdowns. 4 rushes, 22 yards (5.5 YPC).
- RB Nick Chubb: 20 carries, 176 yards (8.8 YPC). 1 TD. 3 catches, 33 yards (3 targets). 1 TD.
- RB Duke Johnson: 3 carries, 15 yards (5.0 YPC). 4 catches, 31 yards (4 targets). 1 TD.