When it comes to Cleveland Browns football, it certainly does not disappoint at raising the stress levels throughout each game. The Browns are 1-0 for the first time in a long time.
Cleveland earned a road victory against the Panthers and former franchise quarterback Baker Mayfield, 26-24, to end almost two decades of losing on opening day. Season openers have not been in Cleveland’s favor since 2004, when they defeated the Baltimore Ravens with Jeff Garcia at quarterback.
Browns Booming Offense
The Browns won in the game’s final minute, with rookie kicker Cade York booming a 58-yard field goal to give Cleveland its first season-opening victory. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett had a decent afternoon but could’ve accounted for more early on. He finished 18 of 34 passing for 147 yards with one touchdown pass and no interceptions.
Arguably Cleveland has the best running-back tandem in the league, and they certainly did not disappoint on opening day. Nick Chubb rushed for 141 yards, while Kareem Hunt added 46 rushing yards on the ground and a touchdown run. The Browns’ rushing game tallied up 217 yards on 39 carries which was an average of 5.6 yards per carry. Hunt also had a receiving touchdown that was the first of the season for Cleveland.
Wide Receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones led the day for the passing game with six catches for 60 receiving yards that seemed to be worthy receptions. Amari Cooper began his Cleveland career with three receptions for 17 yards. Anthony Schwartz has been in question throughout the offseason, but he finished the game with one reception for 19 yards and 20 yards rushing when the offense ran the sweep.
Browns Defense Almost Elite
On the other side of the Ball, the Cleveland defense was stellar early on before drifting later in the game. Myles Garrett made his presence felt, having sacked Mayfield twice, with the second one being a strip-sack. Garrett now has 60.5 sacks in his career. The Browns’ defense limited running back Christian McCaffery to 57 yards with 33 on the ground.
The defense bottled up Mayfield most of the game, but Mayfield burned them twice with a 50-yard reception to Ian Thomas and a 75-yard touchdown to Robbie Anderson. It seemed that the game was at-hand as Cleveland led 23-14 with six minutes in the game, but Mayfield found Anderson on the first play of the ensuing drive. Brissett led the offense back onto the field and got the team in field goal range for Cade York to nail a 58-yarder to seal the deal for Cleveland.
Mayfield finished the afternoon 16 of 27 passing for 235 yards with one touchdown and interception. The Browns were in control for most of the game with 38:26 seconds of possession. Another thing to note is that the Browns converted on eight third downs that helped pave the way to multiple scoring drives. Head Coach Kevin Stefanski becomes the first coach since Butch Davis to win a season opener for the Browns. Cleveland went through 11 different head coaches before ending the losing streak.
Cleveland will return home next Sunday for their home opener against the New York Jets, which should be a rowdy afternoon with football back in the land.
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