The Hall of Fame game celebrated Joe Thomas, and also a Cleveland Browns win! They defeated the New York Jets by a final score of 21-16. Let’s see how the action went down.
The Browns got the ball first, and QB Kellen Mond’s drive was starting well with a mix of screen passes and finding WR Cedric Tillman for a 15-yard gain to the 24 yard line. The drive stalled after that, with the last play seeing Mond take a sack for a loss of 7 yards. K Cade York came on for a 49-yard field goal, and he pushed it to the right to keep the game scoreless.
QB Zach Wilson started for the Jets, as he is now the backup due to the team acquiring QB Aaron Rodgers this offseason. The Jets went three-and-out after Wilson stumbled on his attempt to scramble on third down. New York still managed to change field position, punting to WR Demetric Felton, who returned it out to the 12 yard line.
Cleveland moved the ball a little bit before having to punt. Of note, on third down, WR Daylen Baldwin was flagged for illegal formation — and on Mond’s throw downfield, it was nearly picked by a defender, but then made it through on a pass that Baldwin couldn’t hold on to (probably because his vision was blocked by the flashing defender). P Corey Bojorquez pulled off a beautiful 58-yard sideline punt to the 5 yard line.
The field position didn’t matter. On second down, Wilson dropped back and found WR Malik Taylor on a 57-yard bomb down the left sideline, as he appeared to beat CB Thomas Graham. They couldn’t get any closer, but the Jets took a 3-0 lead after veteran K Greg Zuerlein booted a 54-yard field goal through the uprights.
WR Anthony Schwartz took the handoff on an end around to begin the next drive and fumbled, giving the ball right back to the Jets. Poor guy — he just can’t get out of his own head when it comes to hanging onto the football. The defense held the Jets to a 44-yard field goal, extending the Jets’ lead to 6-0 to end the first quarter.
Both teams traded possessions at the start of the second quarter. When Mond got his second possession of the quarter, he was intercepted immediately as he tried to find Tillman on a crossing route, but didn’t feel the underneath defender mirroring his route.
A few plays later, Jets RB Israel Abanikanda took it around the left edge for a 10-yard touchdown, giving the Jets a 13-0 lead. Cleveland’s offense finally found a little bit of a rhythm after that, although it wasn’t without a few penalties slowing the drive down too. After 17 plays, 71 yards, and 8:33 of game clock, the drive was capped off when Mond flipped a 3-yard touchdown pass to RB John Kelly.
JK is not joking around!— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 4, 2023
10 rush for 42 yds, 4 rec for 27 yds and 1 TD pic.twitter.com/isVNMtMyMd
That made it a 13-7 game with 0:31 left in the half (side note: York nearly pushed the extra point). A long kickoff return still helped the Jets get in range for a 53-yard field goal, making it a 16-7 game at the half.
The second half was all Browns, thanks to QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson sparking the offense. He used his legs to move the ball on his first drive of the preseason, but then it was RB/WR Demetric Felton who finished it off from 16 yards out to make it a 16-14 game. But even though Felton scored, look at Thompson-Robinson out in front with the big block to spring him:
Cleveland’s defense then got a fourth-down stop on the next drive, as rookie cornerback Cameron Mitchell broke up the pass.
The start of the fourth quarter was delayed about 15 minutes due to the lights on half of the stadium going out. Shortly after play resumed, the Browns’ offense was moving the ball well again: first with RB Hassan Hall on the ground, and then finishing the drive with Thompson-Robinson finding WR Austin Watkins for a 22-yard touchdown to put the Browns on top 21-16.
The Jets got one last crack at coming back, but with under a minute to go, S Bubba Bolden intercepted the pass, allowing Cleveland to take a knee and preserve the victory!
Football has always been about family to me pic.twitter.com/4lazZd0G2o— Joe Thomas (@joethomas73) August 4, 2023
- QB Kellen Mond: 13-of-19 for 92 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.
- QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson: 8-of-11 for 82 yards, 1 TD. 6 carries, 36 yards.
- RB John Kelly: 10 carries, 42 yards (4.2 YPC). 4 catches, 27 yards, 1 TD.
- RB Demetric Felton: 7 carries, 46 yards (6.6 YPC), 1 TD. 2 catches, 9 yards.
- WR Cedric Tillman: 2 catches, 35 yards.