2. Browns first and goal stop for loss on Mixon
It is hard for one person to receive credit on this one, but it proved to be a massive play for Cleveland in this game. After running back Giovani Bernard appeared to score on a run but was called down on the 6-inch line, the Browns had to defend a first and goal. Burrow handed to Joe Mixon and was met by a swarm of Cleveland Browns players.
The play started with Sheldon Richardson getting excellent penetration up the middle. Richardson forced Mixon to bounce it outside rather than attack downhill. From there, linebacker B.J. Goodson filled the run lane and again forced Mixon to bounce further. Although Goodson got stiff-armed and missed the tackle, he fortunately still ended up contributing to the play in a positive way.
After Mixon’s second bounce, he was grabbed in the legs by safety Karl Joseph and hit up top by linebacker Sione Takitaki. These two finished the play which ended up resulting in a two-yard loss by the Bengals. It was a huge swing of momentum.
The Bengals then tried a read option and Burrow pulled the ball and again ended up losing yards, this time at the hands of defensive end Porter Gustin and again Goodson. This then forced a third and fairly long and made the Bengals throw the ball which ended up in an offensive pass interference and incompletion and forced the Bengals to kick a field goal.
That first stop on Mixon ended up causing a four-point swing by giving up only a field goal instead of a touchdown. It also gave the defense much-needed confidence. It was a great example of team defense and guys flying to the football.