EditorsNote: Corrects Mayfield yardage total vs. Bengals to 542; corrects Bengals TDs to 2 minutes apart; other edits throughout
Baker Mayfield threw three touchdown passes and fellow rookie Nick Chubb rushed for more than 100 yards for the fourth time this season as the Cleveland Browns defeated the visiting Cincinnati Bengals 26-18 on Sunday.
Mayfield now has 24 touchdown passes in his rookie season, two shy of the rookie record held by Peyton Manning (1998) and Russell Wilson (2012). Cleveland (7-7-1) swept the season series from Cincinnati (6-9), with Mayfield throwing for 542 yards and seven touchdowns in the two games.
The Browns’ defense held the Bengals in check until the final five minutes Sunday, when Cincinnati scored a pair of touchdowns two minutes apart to make things interesting.
Cincinnati’s Jeff Driskel found C.J. Uzomah for a 14-yard score with 4:56 left. The Bengals then forced the Browns to punt, which was blocked by Clayton Fejedelem. Three plays later, Driskel found John Ross for a 3-yard touchdown. With the two-point conversion, the Bengals trailed 26-18.
But Cleveland took the ball and iced the game when Mayfield found David Njoku for 66 yards to the Browns’ 3-yard line just before the two-minute warning.
It took two possessions for the Browns to find their footing and start to take out years of frustration on their in-state rival. Cleveland was able to move the ball but penalties thwarted progress early.
The Browns finally put together a penalty-free drive as Mayfield engineered a 13-play, 74-yard march on their third possession for the game’s first score. Mayfield found Njoku on third-and-goal from the 3 for his 22nd touchdown pass of the season.
Cleveland’s defense forced a quick punt, and it didn’t take long for Mayfield & Co. to score again with the help of a little trickery igniting the home crowd.
A triple-reverse pass from wide receiver Jarvis Landry to Breshad Perriman covered 63 yards on the first play of the drive. Two plays later, Mayfield rolled right, faked a run and tossed a 1-yard scoring pass to tight end Darren Fells.
The extra-point attempt was no good, but FirstEnergy Stadium was rocking.
The first-half stats were startlingly one-sided. The Browns outgained the Bengals 255-36 before the break. Cincinnati had minus-15 yards passing. Joe Mixon, the leading rusher in the AFC entering the game, carried the ball seven times for 21 yards in the half.
—Field Level Media