As written earlier in the week, the Browns needed a win to keep pace in the AFC North with Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Thursday’s game against the Bengals showed just how scary this offense can be once they’re in sync.
Sporting their modern 80’s throwbacks, the “BATTLE OF OHIO” in primetime did not disappoint. As expected, Bengals’ number one draft pick Joe Burrow showed he has the talent and skill to be a top quarterback in the near future by driving the Bengals down the field, but only managing a field goal for the game’s first points.
Browns QB Baker Mayfield showed that primetime flash as he responded leading the Browns offense down the field ending with an 11-yard TD run by Nick Chubb to put the Browns up 7-3 after the first quarter. The second quarter was a shootout as both teams traded scores. Unfortunately for the Bengals, Mayfield and the offense were on fire with touchdowns passes to both Odell Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt respectively to put the Browns up 21-13 going into halftime.
The second half was more of the same as the Browns run game gashed and pounded the Bengals defense. Nick Chubb ran for 124 yards and added another TD, while Hunt added 86 yards and another TD, as well. Mayfield finished the game going 16/23 for 219 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. He also spread the ball around to five different receivers. The short passing game helped tremendously as the play-action game set up the run for big plays. Outside of the one-man wrecking ball in Tennessee’s Derrick Henry, it’s hard to deny that the Browns have the best 1-2 running back combination in the NFL.
While the offense lit up the scoreboard, the defense still has some bugs to work out. For the second game in a row, the Browns’ defense caused a ruckus in the Bengals’ backfield with three sacks and a forced fumble that led to a touchdown for the offense. With the good, there’s also bad as once again the Browns’ defense did not get off the field on 3rd down.
With 10 days off until Cleveland hosts the Washington Football Team, this is still something that can be fixed in practice. One thing is for sure, the fuse is lit. And when the offense is fully explosive, it’s going to be all bad for opposing teams.