The Cleveland Browns lost in another crushing way as the Raiders beat the Browns in overtime, 45-42. The game had it all: Big plays by both teams with points flying on the board. The game, however, will likely be defined by another late-game collapse by the Browns with a big aid from the officials.
The Browns first quarter was a mistake-filled one for Cleveland. Cleveland’s wide receivers had numerous drops in the period with one of Baker Mayfield’s passes glancing off of wide receiver Antonio Callaway’s hands into the hands of Raiders defensive back Gareon Conley, who took it back for a pick six.
The Browns recovered and put together a nice drive at the end of the quarter to end the first quarter down just 7-3.
The second quarter saw two big plays from the Browns offense. The first was a 63-yard touchdown run by rookie running back Nick Chubb. The second came on a 49-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield to tight end Darren Fells. However, after a strong first quarter, the Browns defense struggled in coverage, allowing the Raiders to move down the field on multiple possessions but went into half with a 17-14 lead.
The second half was two quarters of runs. The Browns started out with an 11-0 run that put them up 14 in the third quarter. Then they put together a stretch of terrible football where it saw the offense sputter and the defense give up 20 unanswered points, trailing 34-28 early in the fourth quarter.
Cleveland did not quit, answering with two straight touchdown drives to go back up 42-34. A questionable spot call, though, gave Oakland a lifeline and quarterback Derek Carr took it as he led Oakland on a six-play, 53-yard touchdown drive, including the two-point conversion. The game was all tied up at 42 with just 30 seconds to go. Mayfield led what looked to be a promising drive, but a bad decision led to an interception which forced the game to overtime.
In overtime, the Raiders won the toss and received the opening kickoff. However, both the Raiders and Browns went scoreless on their first series of overtime. On the ensuing drive, Oakland put together a great series, moving 70 yards in 11 plays to set up the game winning field goal.
This was reminiscent of Game 1 of the NBA Finals. A horrible overturned spot call that would have ended the game. A quick whistle that may have negated a fumble and a touchdown by the Browns defense. A blown block in the back call on a late-game punt. Multiple holding calls going unnoticed. The officials greatly affected the game and many of the game-changing calls went against the Browns. The Browns did collapse as a team, but the officials enabled that to happen.
Here is the controversial play that should have ended the game:
Marshawn Lynch looked like he was still running for the Seattle Seahawks. Lynch ran the ball 21 times for 130 yards. The Browns defense struggled mightily all day to try and bring him down. Here is one of the big plays by Lynch:
The Browns defense was not good. The tackling was atrocious all day. The defense could not get a key stop late in the game to nail down the win. The Browns defense allowed 565 total yards from the Raiders offense. Here is the big two-point conversion by the Raiders that tied the game up late in the fourth quarter:
One of the bright spots in this loss was rookie running back Nick Chubb. Chubb had three carries for 105 yards, but two of the carries went for long touchdowns. It is crazy that he only had three carries. Nevertheless, here is Chubb’s first carry of the game:
In his first official NFL start, Mayfield had his ups and downs. He was 21 of 41 for 295 yards and two touchdowns. However, he also had four turnovers, two fumbles and two interceptions. He showed that he could move the offense, but he made some mistakes. He was good enough for the Browns to win this game. Here is Mayfield’s first touchdown of his NFL career: