For a national game, the Battle of Ohio didn't disappoint and was full of excitement. Fortunately, it was the Cleveland Browns who won this fight and went over to a 1-1 victory with a 35:30 win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night. Let's look back at the game.
The Browns started to start the game and the special teams unit did not start well by allowing a return to the 39 yard line. Bengals QB Joe Burrow took Cincinnati down the field with calm throws. The 15-game, 41-yard drive, however, saw DE Adrian Clayborn With an 11-yard sack in third place in the red zone, the Bengals had to be content with a 38-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
QB Baker Mayfield found success on his first run of the game by using the bootleg on consecutive games to complete passes for WR Jarvis Landry and WR KhaDharel Hodge. Cleveland even overcame a situation between 1st and 22nd with the help of Mayfield. RB Nick Chubb ended the ride with a strong 11 yard touchdown run to give the Browns a 7-3 lead.
There was a sack from DT on the Bengals' second voyage Sheldon Richardsonand then in third place Burrow went to demand time out when the center snapped the ball. The ball sailed over Burrow's head and he covered a 22 yards loss resulting in a punt.
The Browns struck gold again on their next trip. After a 13 yard run by Chubb, Mayfield again faked game action and rolled to his left to find WR Odell Beckham Strip the left sideline for a 43-yard touchdown pass. K. Cody Parkey reconnected to the extra point to put Cleveland 14-3 ahead at the start of the second quarter.
Instead of turning into an escape, Burrow struck back. The Bengals were again triggered by another big kickoff return, this time for 45 yards. Within the Cleveland Territory, Burrow found RB Joe Mixon on an 18 yard arrow route followed by a breakdown of the coverage that allowed him to connect to TE C. J. Uzomah for a wide open 23 yard touchdown. This reduced Cleveland's lead to 14:10, nine minutes before the end of the second quarter.
On the Browns' third ride, they tried to start a fake double reverse ride that resulted in a screen scroll, but RB Kareem Hunt got caught in traffic so Mayfield tossed the ball away. Unfortunately, it did not tilt the ball back, which resulted in an intentional grounding. Cleveland, supported in a 2nd-and-24 race, could only get 4th-and-1 before the jump-off. However, the defense held strong on their next trip to push back a boat with a better field position.
Mayfield had the offensive on the next drive with a good mix of runs and passes. He would have had Beckham on the left sideline for another big game, but the referee missed an obvious pass interference call that saw the defender snap his shirt. Even so, Cleveland kept moving the chains across the floor and got into the red zone on the two-minute warning. With a 3-0 hit, the Bengals blew cover and left Hunt wide open for a 6-yard touchdown on the front pylon, giving the Browns a 21:10 lead with 1:31 in the half.
The Bengals were able to add points before the end of half when Burrow put the Bengals in position for a 43 yard field goal that turned Bullock into a 21-13 game.
Cleveland received the ball early in the second half and was keyed by a 3: 9 conversion for 11 yards to TE Austin Hooper to move the chains, and then a 22 yard pass to WR Jarvis Landry on the 4th and 2nd from the 44 yard line. Mayfield then handed it over to Chubb, who took it on the left and broke the tackles to land a 22-yard gain to the 1-yard line (it was originally a touchdown but the replay only decided him briefly).
Unfortunately, Chubb was crammed on the first and second descents, and the third Beckham relegation pass was incomplete. Instead of taking the lead with two ball owners with a field goal, Stefanski opted for the 4th and 2nd goals, and Chubb was rejected for a turnover with downs just short of the end zone. Little did we know, a few minutes later Cleveland would get a mulligan.
When the Bengals took over, Burrow got DT Larry Ogunjobi jumping on a hard count to give Cincinnati some air to breathe. However, after a first failure, Cleveland's defense intensified. At first it was a knockdown of a pass from CB Denzel Ward, then a second down stuff of the run, and then the third down, DE Myles Garrett came around the edge to brush the ball when DE Porter Gustin Burrow planted at the same time, followed by DE Joe Jackson to recover the ball at the 1 yard line.
A game pass for 1's first goal on Hooper was just out of bounds, but on the second relegation, Chubb found Paydirt for the second time to give Cleveland a 28-13 lead at 5:45 in the third quarter.
Parkey kicked the ball to begin the next drive and gave the ball to Cincinnati at the 40-yard line. Then, after a short completion, p. Andrew Sendejo was fined 15 meters for lowering his helmet on hit. The Bengals showed a sense of urgency on the offensive but faced a decision in the red zone on the 4th and 5th from the 20 yard line. They did and Burrow found a gap in the middle to squeeze through and run down for the first time.
The Bengals hurried on, and on the 3rd and 1st from the 4-yard line, RB Giovani Bernard took it to the 1 yard line. In the 1-1 hit of 1, Mixon was stuffed for a loss of 4 meters. At the 2nd and gate from the 5, p. Karl Joseph was marked for a defensive hold, making it 1st and 2nd burrow goal and hitting WR Tyler Boydbut he dropped it. On the 2nd and 2nd goal, Burrow held the ball on the goalkeeper, but was knocked down due to a loss. Cincinnati eventually settled on a 27-yard field goal to make it a 28-16 game en route to the fourth quarter.
Cleveland got the ball and this time it was RB Kareem Hunts drive to start. Hunt couldn't be denied, but then, on the 2nd and 6th from the 26-yard line, Mayfield ran a fake game action. He made a defender mistake thinking he had TE Harrison Bryant open over the middle for a touchdown – but he never saw CB William Jackson Strip from the other side to intercept.
Cleveland's defense then had a chance to put the game on hold when Cincinnati faced a 4-5 victory in midfield. Burrow transformed into Boyd on a 13-yard finish and advanced toward the red zone 8 minutes before the game started. Later in the ride, the Browns appeared to have a sack after folding the bag, but Gustin's hand reached for Burrow's face mask for a penalty. Burrow finished the ride with just under 6 minutes and a 4-yard touchdown pass for WR Michael Thomas to make it a 28-23 game.
For anyone who thought the game was in danger, the running backs got none of it. The ride began with runs of 4 and 26 yards through Chubb, followed by a 33-yard run from Hunt to the 12-yard line. Hunt followed up with a run of 1 and then 11 yards, setting up 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Hunt squeezed it in to give the Browns a comfortable 35-23 lead at 3:55 and the Bengals had no time outs left.
In Burrow's credit, he played many games to get Cincinnati into play, adding a touchdown throw to Boyd from 9 yards to make it a 35-30 game. Bullock then went for the onside kick with 0:43 to go. FB Andy Janovich was on the Hands team and took the onside kick back to seal the deal.
The Browns will play Washington Football Team for their third week on September 27, ten days from now. Until then, they can rest, get well, enjoy victory, and build chemistry.
Quick hitter stats
QB Baker Mayfield:: 16 of 23 (69.6%) for 219 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT.
RB Nick Chubb:: 22 carries, 124 yards (5.6 YPC). 2 TD. 1 catch, 9 meters (1 target).
RB Kareem Hunt:: 10 carries, 86 yards (8.6 YPC). 1 TD. 2 catches, 15 yards (2 targets). 1 TD.
WR Odell Beckham: 4 catches, 74 yards (6 targets). 1 TD.
The Browns had 3 sacks.
Quick hitter notes
This was a much, much better offensive game that did everything I imagined. Use the floor game to set up game action for Mayfield. Mayfield's late interception will be a teaching point because he has had time to read it and needs to be more conscious.
Burrow is a promising young quarterback. I liked a lot of the things I saw of him. But his staff is much more challenging, even on the offensive.
Cleveland's coverage of special teams was still a big problem, but at least Parkey was cash for all five of his extra points.
Cincinnati had a little too much success in fourth place, going 5 out of 5.
Despite without RT Jack ConklinThe Browns offensive line did a great job.
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