The Cleveland Browns are off to their best start at home since 2004, posting a 2-0-1 record. The victory opossum made an appearance on Sunday for the Browns’ first victory Monday in three years.
20 Quick Hits from the Browns 12-9 win against the Ravens in Week Five
- Victory Monday!
- That is the first time those two words can be said since December 15, 2015, when Johnny Manziel and the Cleveland Browns beat the San Francisco 49ers at home.
- Victory Monday, Division Edition!
- That is the first time those four words can be said since October 13, 2015, when the Browns beat the Baltimore Ravens in overtime.
- Let’s start here.
- 3rd and 18 from the Browns own 18-yard line, 2:00 exactly left on the clock. Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield steps up, evades the rush and make an acrobatic throw and finding undrafted rookie wide receiver Derek Willies coming across the field for a first down. Willies broke free and ran 39 yards in the other direction, setting up the Browns on the Baltimore 39 yard line.
- Willies, the undrafted rookie wide receiver from Texas Tech notched his first career NFL reception with 52 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. His first career catch was not as important as his third, but it was still meaningful for the Browns. Willies snagged a 13-yard pass from Mayfield on the Cleveland 38 yard line, giving a huge boost to the Browns offense on the final drive of the game.
- Willies was filling in for third-year veteran Rashard Higgins, one of Mayfield’s favorite targets. Mayfield and Higgins connected on three balls for 66 yards, and Mayfield’s lone touchdown pass. Once Higgins went down with a knee injury and was ruled doubtful for the remainder of the game, Willies was the unlikely receiver to step up.
- From under a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, Willies accounted for nearly half of Mayfield’s completions (3-of-6 one incompletion was a spike) and passing yards (61 of 133) in the final minute of regulation and overtime. Jarvis Landry caught two of those other four passes, good for 59 yards. Willies was the unsung hero from today’s win.
- Landry on the other hand, a five-year veteran receiver, three-time Pro Bowler, and the NFL record holder for most receptions in his first five seasons with 427 made a huge mental mistake with well under a minute remaining in the fourth quarter.
- With 38 seconds on the clock, Mayfield found Landry for a 17-yard reception, moving the Browns in Ravens territory. Landry made a HUGE mental mistake, opting not to run out-of-bounds burning a costly 18 seconds off the clock.
- As a result of Landry’s error, Greg Joseph was forced to attempt a career-long 55-yard field goal at the end of regulation. Joseph hung the field goal way left, forcing the Browns to play their third overtime game of the season.
- Now, on that Mayfield kid. In his first career home start and third career professional game, the rookie quarterback was as resilient as can be. Mayfield finished the day 25-of-43, passing for 342 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Not bad for the rookie going against a Ravens defense that is one of the league’s best.
- Mayfield’s interception came on a mess up from Higgins, as he ran the “scramble drill route” instead of finishing his crossing route. As a result of Higgins error, Ravens defender Tavon Young continued running Higgins route and intercepted Mayfield.
- The Ravens may have one of the best defense in the NFL but the Browns are certainly starting to give them a run for their money. The Orange and Brown were outstanding once again, forcing two turnovers against the Baltimore offense,
- One of those turnovers came from rookie Denzel Ward, who is having just an incredible rookie season. Ward intercepted Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in the red zone, from the Browns own three-yard line. Ward now has three interceptions this season, exceeding his career interception total (three) while at Ohio State. In addition to the interception, Ward also came up with an enormous field goal block at the end of the first half. He also had three passes defended. As of now, there is no argument for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year; It is Ward.
- After it all was said and done, the Browns avoided a potential second tie through five games this season. Under one condition, however, it would not come pretty.
- Greg Joseph lined up for a 37-yard field goal from the left hash. 6 seconds on the clock, tie ball game. The ball is snapped, the hold is down, and the ball leaves the foot of Joseph. The ball took an extremely unique route, spinning awkwardly in the air. Somehow, someway, the ball snuck in the left corner upright, as the Browns left the field with a win.
- The Browns are in third place in the division and have two wins in five weeks for the first time since 2015.
- The last time the Browns gathered their second win of the season in week five? An overtime win against the Baltimore Ravens.
Tweets of the Day
Hue Jackson is telling players to leave the field because there are 2 seconds left on the clock. Holy hell. #Browns
— Hayden Grove (@H_Grove) October 7, 2018
That was the most beautiful dusty fart field goal I've ever seen.
— Ken Carman (@KenCarman) October 7, 2018
Unbelievable. Brandon Carr absolutely annihilated Jarvis Landry. How the refs missed that, I have no clue.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) October 7, 2018
A beer bottle just landed 3 feet from me on the field. Crowd and #Browns sideline apoplectic about no-call after Jarvis Landry got flattened.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) October 7, 2018
Quotes of the Day
- Head Coach Hue Jackson’s opening statement:: “I think we like it dramatic. That is for sure.”
Dramatic or not, a win is a win.
2. Quarterback Baker Mayfield on a culture change: “Take a lot of pride in that. That shows that we are starting to change the culture around here. That guys early on thinking in the past that when something bad happens, then you kind of get in the tank a little bit, put their head down, but we have a team right now that is starting to believe in themselves and rightfully so. I take a lot of pride in the culture change and being positive, always moving forward and doing your job no matter what the situation is. That was big for us.”
I think Baker is going to be the one to turn this thing around. Many positives thus far.
3. Kicker Greg Joseph on the game-winning kick: “It happened too quickly, but obviously, when you hear the sound of your foot and you hear a quick [thud] after it, obviously, it is not always the best result. It was awesome to see it go through and then hear the fans erupt.”
The weight of FirstEnergy Stadium was lifted off Joseph’s shoulders when that kick snuck through.
Stock Up/Stock Down
- PLAYER OF THE GAME: CB Denzel Ward. He came up with a key red-zone interception and blocked a field goal. If he does not make those plays, the score is AT LEAST 19-9, in favor of the Ravens
- LB Jamie Collins. He totaled a team-high and game-high eight tackles in the win. He also added a sack.
- CB E.J Gaines. He finished with two pass breakups and was all over the field. He did an outstanding job of replacing Mitchell.
- RB Duke Johnson. He carried the ball five times for 35 yards and caught one pass for seven yards. He needs more touches.
- WR Derek Willies. He went from no-name to big-time playmaker. Great job done to produce when your name is called.
- RB Carlos Hyde. 3.7 yards per carry and no touchdowns. Hyde started the game hot but tailed off in the remaining minutes.
- TE David Njoku. A career-high six receptions for 69 yards for Njoku. He was also targeted 11 times. He needs to catch the damn football.
- WR Antonio Callaway. He hauled in three receptions on five targets for 55 yards. Again, catch the damn football.
- DE Chris Smith. Only came away with one tackle.
- DE Chad Thomas. The Browns’ 2018 third round pick was inactive for the game. Future is not looking too bright for Thomas.
10 Concluding Thoughts from Around the NFL
- Graham freaking Gano. The 10-year veteran kicker nailed a game-winning *63-yard* field goal at the end of regulation. The longest field goal in NFL history is 64 yards. A 63-yard game winner is just insanity. Panthers win.
- Speaking of the Panthers, their opponent (the Giants) had a trick play featuring a pass from Odell Beckham Jr. to Saquon Barkley. This comes from NFL Research: Odell Beckham’s 57-yard passing TD to Saquon Barkley was the longest Giants pass play of the season. Per Next Gen Stats, the air distance of 45.0 yards was higher than any completion by Eli Manning this season.
- On the flip side of New York teams, former Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell had quite the day on the ground. Crowell ran for 219 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos. He had zero rushing yards last week.
- It turns out that Patrick Mahomes II is human. Mahomes had two interceptions and no passing touchdowns against the Jaguars. Maybe my take that he is the third best quarterback in the NFL was an overreach. I am willing to wait 12 weeks or so.
- Green Bay Packers kicker Matt Crosby missed four field goals against the Lions. After missing one against the Vikings in overtime, the Packers could be 4-1 instead of 2-2-1.
- I heard the Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown coined as “WiFI’ and I had no idea what that meant until listening to NBC’s Sunday Night Football when host Mike Tirico explained. Brown referred to their connection as “WiFi” saying sometimes the connection is great and sometimes the connection is poor. I found that incredibly clever.
- Steelers running back James Conner totaled 185 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns against the Falcons. Pittsburgh is insane for not shopping Le’Von Bell in the offseason.
- Two of the three Rams star receivers did not finish their game against the Seahawks. Both Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp left with concussions. Not often you see that.
- For some reason, I refuse to accept that Adam Thielen is a top 10 NFL wide receiver but every week he proves me wrong. For the fifth consecutive game, this season Thielen totaled 100 or receiving yards, doing so this time on seven receptions adding a touchdown.
- Cardinals rookie receiver Christian Kirk was Arizona’s leading receiver with three receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown. I loved Kirk and Calvin Ridley coming out of college. Nice to see both of them doing well.
- One extra thought this week. The 49ers are 1-4. Life comes at you fast when you lose your quarterback. Not having Jimmy Garoppolo stinks.