For the second season in a row, the Browns have earned their first win over the New York Jets. Cleveland successfully eliminated many of the mental errors that plagued them against Tennessee, dropping their overall penalty tally from 182 to 85 yards. As head coach Freddie Kitchens said multiple times leading up to Monday’s game, the team would learn a lot about who they were after their road trip to the Meadowlands. Although the contest was far from error-free, the Browns showed the ability to improve and grow over the course of a week, something that they can build off of as they enter a futile stretch over the next month and a half.
Brownies in the Big City
On Monday night, Browns fans once again showed their ability to travel. From Times Square to Wall Street, Manhattan was clogged with Cleveland supporters, anxious to see the City’s attractions before heading back across the Lincoln Tunnel towards MetLife Stadium. Sightings took place in small and large settings, stretching from the Port Authority bus terminal to a hidden coffee shop in Greenwich Village. If anyone ever thought that they were far removed from a Kosar jersey, they were wrong.
The tailgate lots outside the stadium opened just after three o’clock, ushering in a wave of orange tents and busses that huddled together in various spots across the property. The largest of these clusters was situated between lots L and J, where an onlooker could see nothing but brown in orange for a hundred yards, stretching from the former location of Giants Stadium to the Giant’s current practice facility.
Cleveland fans made good use of their opportunity to see the team in person. An hour before kickoff, a significant majority of fans inside the stadium were rooting for the away team, watching as the Browns took part in individual position drills. Although Jets fans would file in shortly, the visible sections of orange were present throughout the entirety of the game.
Browns take their first win
As discussed often by the Monday Night Football commentary crew, Cleveland looked inconsistent in their offensive output. Baker appeared to be out of touch or behind his receiving core, failing to convert early drives into touchdowns. Austin Seibert showcased his ability to perform on a large stage, netting field goals from 23, 48, and 43 yards respectively.
Jets fans appeared to be optimistic heading into kickoff, despite their temporary loss of starting quarterback Sam Darnold to mononucleosis, but this was short-lived. Loud J-E-T-S, JETS-JETS-JETS chants were nonexistent after Nick Chubb’s 19-yard touchdown run and subsequent injury to New York’s backup quarterback, Trevor Siemian.
Cleveland’s pass rush smothered the Jets hobbled offense, forcing them to rely heavily on running back Le’veon Bell, already a fan favorite in his new home city. Ultimately, Luke Falk would finish the game under center, making a handful of impressive throws late in the game which were followed by a surge of sarcastic cheers from the remaining Jets supporters. By the time Odell Beckham Jr. completed his 89-yard touchdown reception, MetLife stadium showed more empty seats than occupied. Browns chants began to overpower the noise of the home crowd and the victory was finalized minutes later.
Odell Beckham Jr.
No matter what the Browns star receiver said in postgame interviews, his reception in New York was anything but warm. In a strange twist, Jets fans channeled their inner Giants support and targeted him with a majority of their frustration. The loudest chant of the night came during a referee timeout as Beckham’s helmet visor was examined. Shouts of A—H— echoed across the stadium as the Browns finished their drive deep in Jets territory.
Later in the game, Odell was targeted in the endzone and took a hit from a defensive back, leaving him slow to get up and return to Cleveland’s sideline. As the contact took place, the crowd immediately rose to its feet, anticipating that they had witnessed yet another season-ending injury for the former Giant.
Celebrating the victory
As the game came to a close, Browns players looked both excited and relieved. Jarvis Landry was the first into the locker room, followed by a handful of skill position players and assistant coaches. The Scottish Hammer, Jamie Gillan, was all smiles, waving to the fans that collected above the away team’s tunnel. Offensive lineman JC Tretter joked back and forth with Nick Chubb, and defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi pumped up the crowd as they chanted his name. Beckham was last to leave, visiting Cleveland supporters on both sides of the field before joining his team their locker room.
This year there was no possum or comeback win, but the Browns managed to take care of business on the road, earning a much-needed victory as they head into a five-game stretch against opponents with a combined record of 10-0. Cleveland will look to continue to improve over the remainder of the week before welcoming the defending NFC champion Los Angeles Rams. It will be a difficult matchup, especially as the team works to build their chemistry early in the season. But for now, the Browns are winners, and that feels pretty good.