The Baker Mayfield era has arrived! Bust open the fridges.
Cleveland’s long winless streak is over, as they defeated the Jets 21-17 on Thursday Night Football, improving to 1-1-1 on the season. What had the makings of another embarrassment of a game instead turned a chapter for the organization, as Mayfield relieved an injured Taylor and took charge of the offense in a major way. Let’s recap the action.
The Browns’ first quarter was a pathetic showing on offense and special teams. QB Tyrod Taylor was 1-of-7 for 2 yards, and the playcalling did not fool the Jets’ defenders whatsoever. Cleveland’s defense was getting after QB Sam Darnold for several possessions, but then toward the end of the first quarter, RB Nick Chubb whiffed in his protection on special teams, leading to P Britton Colquitt’s punt being partially blocked.
That gave the Jets starting field position within field goal range. On the first play of the second quarter, RB Isaiah Crowell punched it in from 7 yards out to give the Jets a 7-0 lead.
On the first play of the Browns’ next possession, Taylor had WR Antonio Callaway wide open down the middle of the field for a touchdown. Taylor let the ball hang way too long, though, allowing CB Trumaine Johnson to make up ground for a giving knockaway. Before you knew it, it was another three-and-out for the offense.
On the Jets’ next drive, they ran the ball repeatedly down Cleveland’s throat to the left side. Over and over — and then Crowell punched it in again from 2 yards out, making it a 14-0 lead mid-way through the second quarter.
After that, the Browns finally moved the ball for the first time all game, but even that was ugly. It needed two 15-yard penalties by CB Trumanie Johnson to be sustained (one unsportsmanlike after a third down incompletion, and another personal foul that allowed for a Cleveland hold to be offset). After getting into field goal range, Cleveland had a 2nd-and-2...and then took a timeout, saw Taylor throw to no one deep in the end zone for an intentional ground (while not being pressured), and then was sacked on third down, leading to a punt.
Taylor then went to the medical tent to be evaluated for a concussion as rookie QB Baker Mayfield got ready for his debut. Cleveland’s defense forced a quick three-and-out, allowing Mayfield to run the two-minute offense. Mayfield got a couple of completions on darts, but was then sacked for a loss of eight, forcing the team’s final timeout to be burned with 0:49 left and 43 yards away from the end zone. Another completion set the Browns up from 45 yards out, and K Greg Joseph pushed a 45-yard field goal through the uprights to put the team on the board at 14-3.
The Jets were unable to move the ball much to begin the third quarter, leading to a punt. The punt, plus a block in the back, forced Mayfield’s first drive to start at the 5 yard line. He was able to move the offense to just past midfield, but the team elected to punt on 4th-and-4 from the 45 yard line.
The Jets got a big first down throw on their next drive to WR Robby Anderson, but then CB Denzel Ward stripped the ball away and recovered it, returning it to the 8 yard line.
Unfortunately, even that was not good enough to set the offense up for a touchdown, and Mayfield was fortunate that his third-down pass to WR Jarvis Landry wasn’t picked off by the crossing safety. Joseph just barely made a 27-yard field goal to make it a 14-6 game.
The defense forced another quick three-and-out, and then Mayfield led the Browns right down the field, including a beautiful catch by Landry down to the 1 yard line. RB Carlos Hyde punched it in from 1 yard out to make it 14-12.
WHAT A THROW. WHAT A CATCH. pic.twitter.com/fbAMzQ7vdA— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 21, 2018
The Browns went for two, and after failing the first time, they got a re-do because of offsetting penalties. Cleveland pulled a trick play by having Landry throw a pass to Mayfield for the two-point conversion, tying the game at 14-14!
Cleveland’s defense finally yielded points on the Jets’ next drive, but they were able to hold them to a 28-yard field goal with 9 minutes to go, now down 17-14.
Mayfield then proceeded to put together a six-minute drive, dropping dimes left and right to his receivers, to get the ball to 1st-and-goal at the 1 yard line. With 2:04 to go, Hyde punched it in again on 3rd down to give the Browns their first lead of the game! The extra point made it 21-17, now putting the game in the hands of the defense.
The Jets faced a 4th-and-10 in their own territory, and with all three timeouts, they still decided to go for it. An incredible catch at the marker by WR Jermaine Kearse extended the drive, but on the next play, LB Joe Schobert dove and intercepted Darnold, making up for his dropped pick earlier in the game!
JOE SCHOBERT WITH THE TAKEAWAY‼️ pic.twitter.com/tDO6d7R4Aa— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 21, 2018
Cleveland took over at the Jets’ 43 yard line with 1:21 to go, but it wasn’t over yet because New York still had all three timeouts remaining. The Browns got it down to 4th-and-2 with 1:05 to go at the 34 yard line. Instead of going for it or attempting a 53-yard field goal, they punted down to the 6 yard line with 0:54 left.
Darnold’s first pass was a 25-yard completion to WR Terrelle Pryor. On his next play, replay review determined Darnold’s knee was down on a sack before he could throw it away. With 0:19 to go, Darnold’s heave was picked off by CB Terrance Mitchell, sealing the win! Wooooooo!!!
- QB Baker Mayfield: 17-of-23 for 201 yards.
- QB Tyrod Taylor: 4-of-14 for 19 yards. 4 rushes, 22 yards.
- RB Carlos Hyde: 23 carries, 98 yards (4.3 YPC). 2 TD. 2 catches, 5 yards (3 targets).
- WR Jarvis Landry: 8 catches, 103 yards (15 targets).
- DE Myles Garrett: 3 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 pass defended.
- DT Larry Ogunjobi: 8 tackles, 2 for a loss