Cleveland dominated the Bears despite a close first half, out-gaining Chicago in yards 418 to 47 en route to a 26-6 victory. The Browns are now 2-1 on the year.
The Browns got the ball to begin the game, but things weren’t as crisp as they’ve been. One bright spot is that WR Odell Beckham Jr. made his first catch of the season, and despite some hiccups, Cleveland got close to long field goal range.
On 3rd-and-5, RB Demetric Felton was in the backfield and ran the wheel route. Felton was open, but QB Baker Mayfield overthrew him. The Browns then went for it on 4th-and-5, but there was a mix-up of the snap count and the ball was snapped with confusion as the play clock hit zero, allowing DE Robert Quinn a free rush and sack on Mayfield.
Chicago had a short field to work with, taking over near midfield. The Bears picked up one first down, but then facing a 3rd-and-2, LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah blew up a run play for no gain. K Cairo Santos came on to hit a 47-yard field goal to give the Bears a 3-0 lead.
On the Browns’ second drive, things were looking a bit more crisp as they drove down the field, including a nice sideline catch from WR Donovan Peoples-Jones. On 3rd-and-1 from the 20 yard line, the swing pass to Felton went for no gain. Head coach Kevin Stefanski passed up on a field goal attempt and went for it — but once again, there was confusion on fourth down, and Mayfield was sacked by LB Khalil Mack for a loss of 11 yards.
Cleveland’s defense responded as DE Jadeveon Clowney sacked Fields for a loss of 10 yards, leading to a three-and-out. The Bears boomed a 61-yard punt, forcing the Browns to take over at the 23 yard line to begin their next drive. Cleveland used a screen pass to RB Kareem Hunt and a reverse to Beckham to keep the Bears’ defense off balance, as they got to midfield heading to the second quarter.
Cleveland appeared to pick up a first down on a 3rd-and-5 draw play to Hunt, but the Browns’ offensive line was flagged for holding. After they weren’t able to convert the 3rd-and-15, Stefanski utilized the wind in his favor to allow K Chase McLaughlin to attempt a 57-yard field goal, which he drilled to tie the game at 3-3!
The defense came through again on their next series, taking advantage of the rookie quarterback. On second down, Garrett and Owusu-Koramoah combined for a sack, and then on third down, Garrett finished off Fields again. Unfortunately, Chicago’s punter got off another 61 yard punt to reverse the field, and an illegal block by the Browns made them start their drive at the 23 yard line again.
Deju vu happened again. This time, a couple of completions to WR Rashard Higgins helped get the Browns past midfield. When they got on the border of field goal range, though, Mayfield had to throw a pass away on second down due to pressure, and then was sacked back toward midfield on third down. The Bears muffed the punt, but were able to recover.
Chicago picked up a first down on their next drive, which was an achievement for the first half. A false start on 3rd-and-1 allowed Garrett to sack Fields again on 3rd-and-6, but once again, the Browns were pinned back after another punt and penalty on special teams. With 2:54 to go in the half, Cleveland took over at the 11 yard line. The Browns ran the ball twice to set up a 3rd-and-5 heading into the two-minute warning.
Out of the two-minute drive, a great back shoulder catch by Peoples-Jones for 18 yards moved the chains. Hunt ran the ball for 11 yards, and then had a catch-and-run for 17 yards to get the ball to the 38 yard line with 1:02 to go. Two more quick passes got the ball to the 28 yard line, and the Browns burned two timeouts, giving them one remaining with 0:48 left. At last, the Browns finished a first half drive with a touchdown after a masterful throw from Mayfield to TE Austin Hooper from 13 yards out. That gave the Browns a 10-3 lead with 0:19 to go in the half.
The Bears wanted to go up-tempo to start the second half, but Cleveland’s defense was having none of it. They forced two incompletions, and then on third down, Takk McKinley registered a sack to force a punt. Cleveland got a good return from Felton to begin the drive at the 44 yard line, and then a 26-yard completion to Beckham got the Browns into the red zone.
The drive stalled, though, due to a holding penalty on LG Joel Bitonio, followed by a 10-yard sack on Mayfield. On 3rd-and-30 from the 35 yard line, Mayfield evaded pressure a couple of times to scramble for 12 yards. That helped set up a more comfortable 41-yard field goal for McLaughlin, which he connected on to extend the Browns’ lead to 13-3 with 9:32 to go in the third quarter.
The Browns’ defense forced another three-and-out on Fields, this time thanks to Garrett just barely tripping up the rookie from behind to give him 3.5 sacks on the day. A 63-yard punt gave the Browns the ball at the 24 yard line to begin their next series. Cleveland went three-and-out themselves on offense, though, as Mayfield was sacked on third down for the fifth time in the game. Showing the difference in punters too, Jamie Gillan’s punt only went 48 yards, allowing the Bears to begin their next drive at the 31 yard line with 5:45 remaining in the third quarter.
On Chicago’s next drive, facing a 3rd-and-19, Fields rolled out and heaved one deep, which S John Johnson III intercepted. A terrible flag was thrown by the official, though, as they called Johnson for pass interference. If there is any silver lining, it’s that the Bears ultimately settled for a 22-yard field goal to make it a 13-6 game with 1:43 left in the third quarter.
Cleveland started their next drive with a 16 yard pass to Beckham, a 23-yard screen pass to Hunt, and then a 7-yard run by Hunt to set up a 2nd-and-3 from the 29 yard line heading into the final quarter of play. Mayfield just missed Beckham up the left sideline to begin the quarter, but then on 3rd-and-3, Hunt continued his red hot game by making two defenders miss en route to a 29-yard touchdown run to give the Browns a 20-6 lead with 14:46 remaining in the game.
The defense did the task again after that, forcing another relatively quick punt. Chubb had several nice runs, and then Mayfield missed an open TE Harrison Bryant that would’ve gotten into the red zone on third down. McLaughlin came on and drilled a 52-yard field goal, though, to give Cleveland a comfortable three-possession lead at 23-6 with 10:40 to go. Garrett logged a franchise-breaking 4.5th sack on the next drive:
Cleveland ran the ball with their backs before adding a 28-yard field goal to make it a 26-6 game with under four minutes to go. That’s how the game ended, as the Browns had 9 sacks on the day.
- QB Baker Mayfield: 19-of-31 for 246 yards, 1 TD. 4 rushes, 31 yards.
- RB Nick Chubb: 22 carries, 84 yards.
- RB Kareem Hunt: 10 carries, 81 yards, 1 TD. 6 catches, 74 yards (7 targets).
- WR Odell Beckham: 5 catches, 77 yards (9 targets). 1 rush, 10 yards.
- DE Myles Garrett: 4.5 sacks, a franchise record.
- The Browns had 9 sacks as a team.