Browns Week 1 instant reactions: Cade York becomes hero in debut

Browns, Cade York. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Browns, Cade York. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) /

For the first time since 2004, the Cleveland Browns won in Week 1 and they can thank their rookie kicker, Cade York, for securing the victory

It wasn’t easy, but the Cleveland Browns finally started a season 1-0. Facing the Carolina Panthers and former No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield, Cleveland needed a last-minute drive and a 58-yard field goal from rookie Cade York to secure the win.

After a slow start in the first half, Cleveland scored 17 points in the second quarter, thanks in large part to Kareem Hunt. The veteran running back scored two touchdowns and finished with 70 total yards on the day.

Nick Chubb was still the offensive leader with 141 yards, but they needed their passing attack to come up big with just over one minute to go. After Mayfield led a drive to take a 24-23 lead, that’s what happened as they went 35 yards to set up a 58-yard field goal from York for the win.

Browns missed Kareem Hunt

Hunt was out for nine games in 2021 and his absence was a huge detriment. There were games the offense looked inept and on Sunday, we saw that simply having No. 27 on the field makes a huge difference.

His first touchdown was a simple one-yard reception but his second was a 24-yard run where he cut right through Carolina’s defense before kicking it into another gear.

Hunt wants an extension with the Browns, and if they can afford to make it work, it would be a huge move because he continues to be a difference-maker.

First Week 1 win since 2004

Cleveland finally ended a frustrating streak. They haven’t won a Week 1 game since 2004 and haven’t won a road game in Week 1 since 1994. That ended on Sunday, and hopefully, it doesn’t become an issue again in the future.

Jacob Brissett needs work

While the Browns got the win, they also dodged some bullets. Jacoby Brissett was just 18-of-34 with 147 yards. He will get credit for leading the winning drive, but there was a questionable 15-yard penalty that aided the Browns in a big way.

He missed at least three wide-open receivers, two of which would have been touchdowns.

Perhaps it was simply a case of him being rusty since he’s not a regular starter and didn’t play much in the preseason, but not every team will be as forgiving as Carolina should his accuracy issues continue.

Next Week

The Browns have their home opener in Week 2 as they host the New York Jets. New York started 0-1 with a 24-9 loss to the Ravens this weekend.