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Browns vs. Jaguars Final Score: Cleveland survives questionable officiating and mistakes, 27-25

There’s always something crazy against Jacksonville, but ultimately, the Browns still came out on top.

Cleveland Browns v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Crappy officiating, blown opportunities by the offense, and a defense trying to keep the duct tape together. Ultimately, the Browns won 27-25, and we can finish the day thrilled about that and being 8-3! Let’s get to the recap of the game.

1st Quarter

The Jaguars received the ball to begin the game, and on their first offensive play of the game, SS Ronnie Harrison left with an injury, hurting the team’s already shortened depth on defense. Jacksonville could only manage one first down before punting, although it was a good one by P Logan Cooke, downing it at the 8 yard line.

QB Baker Mayfield was sacked on the opening play after RG Wyatt Teller was beat right off the snap, and then RB Nick Chubb was hit for a loss on second down. On 3rd-and-17 from the 1 yard line, RB Kareem Hunt got Cleveland some breathing room with an 8 yard gain, but the Jaguars gained field position as their next possession started at their own 49 yard line.

Off of the short field, the Jaguars again only managed to get one first down against the defense. However, it was enough to set up a 53-yard field goal, which K Aldrick Rosas drilled right down the middle to give Jacksonville a 3-0 lead.

Cleveland had their best kickoff return of the season, as RB D’Ernest Johnson ran the kickoff back 43 yards, out to the Cleveland 45 yard line. On first down, Mayfield bootlegged to his left and hit WR Jarvis Landry for a 21-yard catch-and-run, followed by a 14-yard screen pass to Chubb. A few more positive plays later, Mayfield made a great throw to Landry for a 5-yard touchdown, giving Cleveland a 7-3 lead with 3:40 to go in the first quarter.

Jacksonville found a rhythm with RB James Robinson on the ground, and then a pass interference penalty by CB Terrance Mitchell helped get the Jaguars into the red zone. Jacksonville faced a 3rd-and-1 at the 9 yard line heading to the second quarter.

2nd Quarter

The Jaguars picked up a first down to begin the second quarter, setting up a 1st-and-goal situation from the 8 yard line. After a 2-yard gain on first down, Glennon airmailed a second down pass for an incompletion. On 3rd-and-goal from the 6 yard line, Glennon tried to fire the ball over the middle, but LB B.J. Goodson knocked it away. Rosas came on for a 24-yard field goal to cut the Browns’ lead to 7-6.

Cleveland’s offense was rolling on the next drive, with a combination of great throws by Mayfield, great catches by his receivers, and good runs by the backs. However, in a goal-to-go situation, Mayfield overthrew a wide open WR Rashard Higgins over the middle. Then, on third down, his throw to a covered Landry was high too, but it was still another missed opportunity for a score. Cleveland brought on K Cody Parkey for a 24-yard field goal to extend the lead to 10-6, but it definitely felt like a bitter ending to the drive.

The Jaguars made Cleveland pay. After driving past midfield, Glennon found WR Collin Johnson open off of a playaction fake crossing to the left side of the field, and the catch-and-run went for 46 yards and a touchdown, allowing the Jaguars to re-take the lead at 13-10 with 4:14 to go in the first half.

Chubb had a couple of nice runs, and then Mayfield completed a tight 23-yard pass to Landry a play before the two-minute warning. The Browns faced a 2nd-and-6 from the 37 yard line coming out of the two-minute warning. Mayfield missed a wide open Landry off of playaction on second down, but hit him on third down to move the chains — and then a run by Hunt set up another goal-to-go situation for Cleveland. On 1st-and-goal from the 9 yard line, Mayfield lofted a touchdown pass to a wide open TE Austin Hooper to give Cleveland a 17-13 lead with 1:10 to go.

Glennon began the one-minute drill with completions of 18 and 6 yards to get to midfield. After a first down conversion to the 45 yard line, Jacksonville burned their final timeout with 0:24 to go. Glennon got the ball to the 36 yard line with 0:04 to go to set up a 54-yard field goal from Rosas — this time, though, he missed it to the right, preserving Cleveland’s 17-13 lead heading to the half.

3rd Quarter

The Browns received the ball to begin the third quarter, and it didn’t start good at all. Mayfield completed a 14-yard pass to TE Harrison Bryant, but former Browns LB Joe Schobert poked the ball away from behind and the Jaguars recovered, returning it to the 30 yard line.

On a 4th-and-1 from the 21 yard line, Jacksonville converted with a pass to Robinson to the 7 yard line. On 2nd-and-goal from the 2 yard line, Glennon found TE Tyler Eifert in a tight window for a touchdown, giving the Jaguars a 19-17 lead. The Browns were offsides on the extra point, so Jacksonville decided to accept the penalty and try the two-point conversion instead — and the back shoulder pass was incomplete, making it a 19-17 game with 11:41 to go in the third quarter.

After the kickoff, the Browns began the next drive at the 35 yard line. After picking up a first down, Mayfield was caught with yet another intentional grounding penalty this season for a loss of 11 yards. Mayfield’s 15-yard strike to Higgins on third down set up 4th-and-1 from the 44 yard line. Hodge made a terrific catch at the sideline for 10 yards to move the chains. On the next 3rd-and-2, Mayfield couldn’t find anyone open and tried to float the wheel route to Hunt up the sideline, but it wasn’t on target. Parkey came on to hit a 45-yard field goal, giving the Browns a 20-19 lead with 6:45 to go in the third quarter.

Glennon got the Jaguars to midfield again with a 20-yard strike to Johnson, but he couldn’t convert the next third down situation. After the punt, Cleveland took over at the 10 yard line. A 13-yard run by Chubb to begin the drive gave them some cushion, followed by a 29-yard burst on the next play to midfield. After a 14-yard strike to Landry, Hunt had his own burst of 27 yards up the left edge to the 7 yard line. The Browns drew an offsides from Jacksonville on the final play of the quarter, putting the ball at the 3 yard line.

4th Quarter

On 1st-and-goal from the 3 yard line, Chubb gained two yards. On 2nd-and-goal, Mayfield fired the ball on the slant to Bryant, who caught the ball, but then lost it as it hit the ground. The official ruled it an incomplete pass, and head coach Kevin Stefanski challenged the call. It looked borderline, and the call on the field stood. On 3rd-and-goal from the 1 yard line, Mayfield pitched it to Chubb, who needed all of the left edge to dive for the touchdown. The extra point gave Cleveland an 8-point lead at 27-19 with 14:13 to go.

The Browns’ defense forced another punt near midfield, but this time, instead of fielding the ball at the 12-yard yard, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones let it bounce, and Jacksonville downed it at the 2 yard line. Hunt was hit for a loss of a yard on first down. On second down, he would’ve gained 7 yards on the run, but it came back due to a holding penalty on C JC Tretter, which seemed pretty ticky tack. Mayfield took a chance off of playaction and zipped a bullet over the middle to Landry, with very tight coverage, for a 19 yard gain and a first down. Two plays later, Mayfield found Landry again for another 19 yards.

Chubb followed that with gains of 7 and 21 yards. Needing a breather, Hunt came in for an 8-yard run. What ensued was a series of crap calls. Hunt gained what looked to be a first down, but the officials ruled him two yards short. Stefanski challenged, and it was ruled to be marked two yards gained — but the chain gang marked it two inches short. On 3rd-and-inches, Mayfield missed an open Hunt in the flat that would’ve been a first down. With 5:30 to go, Cleveland faced 4th-and-inches. A field goal would give the Browns a two-score lead, but they decided to go for it. Hunt got the ball and stretched and appeared to have the first down — but the officials again measured their mark, and ruled Hunt an inch short for a turnover on downs.

A 27-yard run Robinson on the next drive after the Jaguars had gotten to midfield put Jacksonville back in business. Glennon missed a wide open receiver on third down though, and decided to go for it on 4th-and-10. The officials then called roughing the passer on DE Olivier Vernon after he had sacked Glennon, extending the drive — there was some helmet contact, but it looked like a bullshit penalty. A few plays later, Robinson drove the ball into the end zone for a touchdown, making it a 27-25 game with. Jacksonville lined up for the all-important two-point conversion, and Cleveland broke it up.

With three timeouts and 2:14 to go, the Jaguars opted to kick the ball for a touchback instead of trying the onside kick. Chubb picked up 12 yards on first down to take the clock officially to the two-minute warning.

Chubb ran the ball for 4 yards on first down, and Jacksonville took their first timeout. On second down, Mayfield did a bootleg and ran it himself up the left side for 5 yards, setting up 3rd-and-1. Off of a Shotgun draw, Cleveland got a first down — but guess what? It was another penalty called by the officials! A hold on Tretter to bring it back to 3rd-and-11. Thankfully, a screen pass to Chubb gained 12 yards and a first down to finally put the game away after a few kneeldowns.

Up Next

The Browns will play on the road on Sunday, December 6, in their Week 13 match-up against the Tennessee Titans. The game will be at 1:00 PM ET.

Quick Hitter Stats

  • QB Baker Mayfield: 19-of-29 for 258 yards, 2 TD.
  • RB Nick Chubb: 19 carries, 144 yards, 1 TD. 3 catches, 32 yards.
  • RB Kareem Hunt: 10 carries, 62 yards.
  • WR Jarvis Landry: 8 catches, 143 yards, 1 TD.

Quick Hitter Notes

  • This was a combination of good and bad for Mayfield. The good was that he made so many throws in this game that were just terrific, ones that make you go, “Wow!” But then he had some misses that were so wide open — as in, no defender within 10 yards of the receiver open — that cost the team at least 10-14 points.
  • There always seems to be some shady stuff with the officials in Jaguars vs. Browns game, and this week was no different. To be fair, I thought some of the 50/50 calls early in the game were the right calls. But then when you see the two spots and measurements in the fourth quarter, the flag on Vernon, two of the flags on Tretter — those were all game-sealing moments, and they all went against Cleveland. Jerome Boger also incorrectly said that Cleveland was charged a timeout on their last challenge, then had to correct himself after the commercial — but then made another incorrect statement by saying that Cleveland would get their challenge back. Terrible.
  • Yeah, the Jaguars had 375 yards of offense. Yes, there were no sacks or turnovers. But you know what? I give credit to the defense still. They were without Myles Garrett, Porter Gustin, Denzel Ward, Ronnie Harrison, Sheldrick Redwine, and Sione Takitaki. They hung in there and forced some breakups late, and even stopped 2 two-point conversions.
  • How about the one bizarre thing that worked out for Cleveland? In the third quarter, Vernon was offsides on a successful extra point. Jacksonville decided to take that point off the board and go for two, which was no good. That is what set up the two-point try on the Jaguars’ final touchdown, and because they missed again, ultimately the penalty ended up being a game-changer to help Cleveland win.
  • Nick Chubb is a beast. I felt like he was so close to breaking an even bigger run on a handful of plays. Jarvis Landry had a great day like I predicted. Kudos to KhaDarel Hodge, who only had 3 catches but made 2 difficult catches to extend drives.
  • Not a good game for Harrison Bryant, who fumbled and dropped a touchdown pass.


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