The Cleveland Browns are still alive.
It was an ugly primetime outing, but the Browns edged out a 17-16 victory in Denver on Saturday night.
The Browns defense came out scorching hot to start the game. A forced three-and-out fueled a Baker Mayfield touchdown drive, finding Breshad Perriman in the end zone. Out of the gates, it looked like things could get very ugly for the Denver Broncos.
But the Broncos sustained Cleveland’s flurry and kept things close throughout.
It wasn’t Mayfield’s prettiest game. There’s no hiding that. The rookie was 58% passing with an interception and a fumble. His accuracy, outside of the opening drive, was wavered. His passes were a little arid at times. Certainly, he was feeling the pressure of Denver’s tenacious pass rush featuring Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
But the Browns, as a collective football team, rallied together and prevailed.
“Didn’t make it easy — but won. That’s what road dawgs have to do!” Interim Head Coach Gregg Williams said to the team after the victory.
The whole “road dawgs” mentality is fascinating because the team has badly struggled on the road in recent history. That bad history does not phase Williams or Mayfield. Not even a little bit.
Even with Mayfield struggling, the defense turned up the heat and kept the pressure on Denver. Williams had called a timeout, which negated a Denver neutral zone infraction, and then Nick Chubb couldn’t convert on fourth down. Even with everything slowly collapsing, the team found a way to win together.
Despite his struggles, Mayfield found the end zone twice. The defense, fueled by Jabrill Peppers, was able to cause turnovers, sacks and contain Broncos running back, Phillip Lindsay.
But now the mentality needs to change, according to Williams.
The Browns need to find a way to be “home dawgs” and take care of business on their home field against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Browns will have practice on Monday, where they will clean up some of their mistakes from the ugly win on Saturday. From there, Williams said the team will have Tuesday off of practice and then practice everyday up until “the most important win” needed on Sunday against the Bengals.
“We should all know we have things we need to clean up,” Williams said of the penalties and mechanical errors. “But you know what, it’s better cleaning those sons of bitches up after a win!”
Nick Pedone can be reached on Twitter with any questions or comments @NickPedone12.