On Monday Night Football, the Jets were helpless as they were down to their third quarterback for most of the game. Despite the offensive struggles, the Browns got some early field goals and a big play in the second half to come away with the 23-3 victory.
The Browns received the ball to begin the game, and on their first drive, WR Odell Beckham made a tremendous one-hand catch down the sideline for 33 yards, down to the 4 yard line. However, Cleveland couldn’t get it into the end zone, and Beckham was removed from the game on third down because the visor on his helmet didn’t comply with league rules. Cleveland settled for a 23-yard field goal by K Austin Seibert to take a 3-0 lead.
The Jets’ first drive was halted quickly by a sack from DE Myles Garrett, and Cleveland’s next drive began near midfield. A third down incompletion in the direction of a fairly open Beckham forced the team to settle for a 48-yard field goal by Seibert, which he connected on to make it a 6-0 game.
The defense continued holding the Jets to nothing through the first quarter, and then part-way into the second quarter, the Browns found the end zone for the first time via a 19-yard run by RB Nick Chubb, giving Cleveland a 13-0 lead.
The Browns had a chance to shut the Jets down yet again later in the second quarter, but Garrett had his second roughing the passer penalty of the game on Siemian by driving his weight into him. This time, it came on third down, allowing the Jets to extend the drive. They did lose Siemian to a nasty-looking ankle injury, and QB Luke Falk, active for the first time in his career, came in under center. RB Le’Veon Bell received several carries to get the Jets into field goal range, and their new kicker, Sam Ficken, connected from 46 yards out to cut Cleveland’s lead to 13-3 with under three minutes to go in the quarter.
At the very end of the half, with no timeouts to go, Mayfield found Landry for 25 yards. They ran up to clock the ball with five seconds to go in the half, and then Cleveland got those points back with a 43-yard field goal by Seibert to take a 16-3 lead.
The third quarter offense for Cleveland continued to be rather uninspired, with Mayfield looking out of sorts. The Jets weren’t doing much either, until Falk found WR Robby Anderson for a 36-yard completion. The Jets eventually faced a 3rd-and-2 from the 12 yard line, but the third down pass was incomplete and on fourth down, the swing pass to Bell was stopped a yard shy of a first down. That gave the ball back to Cleveland with 3:43 to go in the third quarter — and in a split second, the game changed when Mayfield hit Beckham up the seam for an 89-yard touchdown pass, giving the Browns a 23-3 lead.
With ten minutes to go in the game, Mayfield threw a bit high for Beckham, and the pass was tipped and intercepted by CB Daryl Roberts. The Jets looked poise to strike for a touchdown, but while Bell was running free up the sideline, LB Joe Schobert shot in from the side and knocked the ball into the air before it landed into the arms of CB T.J. Carrie. It was Cleveland’s first forced turnover of the year, coming with seven minutes to go in the game.
From there, Cleveland ran the clock out for a bit before punting with a minute to go.
It feels great that the Browns got their first win of the season, but I’m still having trouble getting a feel for what the identity of the offense is. The team needs to iron that out quick, because their next five opponents are a combined 10-0 — and next week, they host the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football.
- QB Baker Mayfield: 19-of-35 for 325 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.
- RB Nick Chubb: 18 carries, 62 yards, 1 TD. 4 catches, 36 yards.
- WR Odell Beckham Jr: 6 catches, 161 yards (10 targets). 1 TD.
- DE Myles Garrett: 3 sacks.
- K Austin Seibert: 3-of-3 on field goals, 2-of-2 on extra points.