November 28, 2021

The Cleveland Browns traveled to Cincinnati to take on their in-state divisional rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals have turned the ship around and have gone from pretenders to contenders in the AFC North. Leading the Bengals is their second-year quarterback Joe Burrow, who had sustained a major injury a season ago, the team went on to finish the season with four wins. Cincinnati has already won five games, and on paper, this looked to be a great matchup. 

 

Cincinnati’s offense got off to a fast start, as they were quickly moving the ball down the field. Surely Cincinnati would score since they were in the red zone and looked nearly unstoppable, within a blink of an eye, everything changed as cornerback Denzel Ward jumped the route and intercepted Burrow’s pass intended for JaMarr Chase. Ward motored down the sideline and returned the interception for a 99- yard touchdown to give the Browns a 7-0 lead. Cincinnati has multiple playmakers on their team that can hurt defenses. Cincinnati would utilize one of their playmakers in running back Joe Mixon, who on a toss play ran to his left and found the endzone on an 11- yard touchdown run, to tie the score at 7-7. 

Cleveland running back Nick Chubb had his fingerprints all over the team’s next drive as he caught a pass for a big play, and powered his way into Cincinnati territory. Shortly after, Chubb would charge into the end zone on a 1- yard touchdown run to give Cleveland a 14-7 lead. There was plenty of coverage surrounding the release of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr this past week, but who needs him when you have a possible rising star in Donovan Peoples-Jones. Cleveland went for the jugular, as quarterback Baker Mayfield tossed a beautiful deep ball directly in the hands of Donovan Peoples-Jones, who cruised to the end zone for a 60-yard touchdown pass to widen the lead to 21-7. The Browns looked to be in complete control, as the defense laid out a huge hit to Chase, which dislodged the ball and recovered by A.J. Green. 

Cleveland could only add three points to their lead, as kicker Chase McLaughlin drilled a 28-yard field goal to push the lead to 24-7. Despite the lead, it was a victory for the Bengals’ defense as they did not give up a touchdown. Cleveland’s defense looked confident and defensive coordinator Joe Woods was pushing the right buttons as they “ruffled the feathers” of Joe Burrow. Cincinnati was able to collect three points as kicker Evan McPherson connected on a 27-yard field goal. At the half, the score was Cleveland 24 Cincinnati 10. 

Cleveland continued to dominate the game, as Nick Chubb brushed off two tackles and found his way into the end zone for a 70 -yard touchdown run to add another touchdown to his stat sheet. The touchdown marked Nick Chubb’s 34 rushing touchdowns, placing him 5th most in team history. The lead was now Browns 31 Bengals 10. The Cleveland defense yet again was pesky as they intercepted Burrow for a second time. Chase McLaughlin knocked a 24-yard field through the uprights, which increased the lead to 34-10 Cleveland. Cleveland cornerback Troy Hill left his mark on the game, as he registered his second sack of the game as he tripped up Burrow on third down. 

Early in the fourth quarter, Joe Mixon rushed up the gut for a two-yard touchdown run. Cincinnati would fail on their two-point conversion attempt, which would cut the lead to 34-16 Browns. Cleveland would find the end zone, as Baker Mayfield stayed as calm as a cucumber in the pocket and delivered a perfect pass to tight end David Njoku for an 18- yard touchdown pass. The lead rose to 41-16, which left little doubt that the Browns were sending a message to the league, that they don’t need Odell Beckham to “save the day”. They are more talented and better off without him. The front office and team should be given praise for remaining focused and dominating the game despite all the distractions throughout the week. 

The Cleveland defensive did an outstanding job containing Burrow and co., as they gave the offensive line headaches all day long. The defense had a total of 72 tackles and only allowed 85 rushing yards. Moving on to the offensive side of the ball, Baker Mayfield has been criticized throughout this season, though I believe more fans need to have more faith in his ability.

In this game, Baker Mayfield completed 14 out of 21 passing attempts, threw for 218 yards, and threw two touchdown passes. Baker is more than capable of leading this team to new heights. Nick Chubb is a sensational running back and is such a special talent, that will mark my words be a legend in Cleveland when all is said and done because his ceiling is that high. Nick Chubb had 14 touches, for 137 yards, two touchdowns and carried an average of an incredible 9.8 yards per carry. A potential star is Donovan Peoples-Jones, who had a huge game catching two passes for 86 yards and registering a touchdown. This team is in the hunt at (5-4) to make this a special season, as they are right behind the (6-3) Pittsburgh Steelers and are not too far behind the first-place Baltimore Ravens who stand at (6-2). Cleveland will travel to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots next Sunday.

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