Cleveland Browns stud: Joe Flacco, QB
Just as he did last week, Joe Flacco led the Browns down the field in a hurry for an opening-drive touchdown. The veteran threw for 66 yards on 4-of-4 passing — similar to the stat line he had against the Rams on that first drive. He hit Jerome Ford twice for 18 yards and found Cedric Tillman for a 14-yarder as well before capping the drive off with a 34-yard touchdown to David Njoku.
That pass came on their lone third down of the drive, which was a third-and-one following an eight-yard reception from Ford. Cleveland caught the Jaguars off guard with a jumbo formation featuring six offensive linemen. With Michael Dunn as an eligible tackle and Nick Harris at fullback, Kevin Stefanski dialed up a play-action pass and no one was anywhere close to Njoku.
From there, the Browns had three consecutive three-and-outs but the defense kept forcing punts. Flacco then got back into a rhythm when he hit Amari Cooper for a 17-yard gain to end the first quarter and started the second with a dart to Elijah Moore for 20 yards. Again, he capped off this drive with a touchdown to a wide-open Njoku who took it in from 30 yards out.
Not all was simple as the offense had a few turnovers in this one with two being charged to Flacco. First was a pick where he threw the ball to where Cedric Tillman should be — but Tillman wasn’t there after running into a defender. He lost a fumble in the second half as well, leading to a touchdown that made it 21-14.
Despite those issues, Flacco came up when needed. The best example was a fourth-and-three in the fourth quarter. With no desire to punt the ball back to the Jaguars, Cleveland went for it on fourth-and-three and Flacco hit David Bell in stride. Bell then took it 41 yards to the house for his first career touchdown.
Flacco ended with 311 yards and three touchdowns. He even set franchise history in the process with his three scoring passes going for more than 30 yards apiece. No Cleveland quarterback had ever accomplished this feat before Flacco did on Sunday. It was a day to remember as he secured his first win with the Browns.