Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns scored the W
The Cleveland Browns headed into Thursday Night Football looking to right the ship against the Cincinnati Bengals. Without a doubt, the offense righted their ship. But the defense and special teams are still a work in progress.
The best thing that happened tonight was the return of Baker Mayfield. Baker was making his throws on time. He looked more comfortable in the pocket. His accuracy seemed to return for the evening as well.
Odell Beckham Jr involved in the game early. Odell looked dynamic making plays on the outside and over the middle of the field. He and Baker looked to be on the same page all night.
Tight ends were blocking. The Browns tight ends blocked inline and down the field. The tight ends were even pulling on power plays and getting second-level blocks.
Myles Garrett made some excellent plays. He got a forced fumble in a key situation to keep the Browns in the game.
The secondary played poorly again. The Bengals were able to throw the ball at will. The poor secondary play allowed the Bengals to turn what should have been a lopsided game into a too-close-for-comfort shootout.
The linebacker group played better but it was still poor overall. Tight ends were the main target for Joe Burrow due to their struggles. Quick passes to tight ends kept drives alive for the Bengals, and frustrated the fans suffering through the reoccurring issue.
Cleveland’s defense as a whole played poorly on third down. In several key situations, the Bengals were able to convert on 3rd down. This is an area the will need to improve if the Browns want to compete against better opponents — even worse was the fourth down situations which see Cincinnati convert all five attempts in this area.
Special teams play for the Browns was simply ugly. On three separate occasions, the Bengals were able to start on their own 40-yard line after a kickoff. Twice the coverage team gave up a long return. On the third occasion, kicker Cody Parkey kicked the kickoff out of bounds.
The extra points tonight were all made. But each kick was an adventure. One can only hold their breath when Parkey takes the field (but hey, he made his extra points so it’s give and take, right?)
The Browns defense allowed Joe Mixon to run all over them again. Mixon both ran the ball well and he was able to impact the game as a receiver. Mixon has been a thorn in the Browns side and that did not change tonight.
In all, Browns fans have a lot to be happy about. The team won the game. Baker Mayfield looked like the Baker Mayfield of his rookie year. The running game was strong. The passing game was strong. A great night to be a Browns fan!