Cleveland Browns Week 6 grades: Reserves help team make the honor roll

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Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 26: Chase McLaughlin #3 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates his field goal with teammates during a game between the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 26, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Handing out the report cards was easy after the Cleveland Browns won on Thursday Night Football against Denver

It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but the Cleveland Browns escaped Thursday night with a hard-fought, 17-14 win over the Denver Broncos.

The Browns limped into Thursday’s game against the Broncos in what many deemed as a “must-win.” Well, win is exactly what the team went out and did, despite not having Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, Jack Conklin, and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

Wins are the most important stat in the NFL, regardless of who is or isn’t on the field, and the Browns found a way to win to improve to 4-3 on the season.

Playing on Thursday night essentially gives Cleveland a mini bye week, which is much-needed so they can try and get as healthy as possible before the AFC North rival Steelers come to town for a Halloween showdown. Cleveland will now have 10 days to rest up and a game plan for Pittsburgh.

The win can ease the minds of many (unless you are one of those pessimistic fans I see every week on the bird app) who might have been panicking heading into this game as the status of Mayfield moving forward is uncertain. Case Keenum got his first start in Brown and Orange and did a serviceable job, managing the team to a win.

Grading has been really tough to gauge for the Browns this season, as the team has been very up and down with plenty of good, but also plenty of bad.

During this grading period, Cleveland did enough to make the honor roll. Let’s start with the special teams.

Cleveland Browns special teams grade: B

The kicking coverage has been fairly solid this season. Chase McLaughlin kicked the ball off a total of four times and there were no big returns.

More on McLaughlin in just one second.

Jamie Gillan, aka the Scottish Hammer, has been anything but a hammer this season. He had the dreadful botched punt in Kansas City in Week 1 and really has not done that great of a job at pinning the opposition inside their own 20-yard line.

On Thursday night, Gillan punted the ball three times with an average of 51.67 yards per punt, which is incredible for his standards based on what we’ve seen in the previous six games of the season.

Back to McLaughlin.

Entering Thursday, McLaughlin was money for the Browns had yet to miss a kick. He connected on all 15 of his field-goal attempts and all nine field-goal tries. That continued as he made his first PAT on the first drive of the game as well as a 52-yard field goal, his fourth kick of 50 or more yards.

Then on his second attempt, defensive end Shelby Miller got his hand, thus ending the streak. For that reason alone, special teams get a B, but the Browns have their kicker, finally.

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