Browns Win First Road Game In Three Years, Crush Bengals 35-20
Written by Brandon Lewis on November 27, 2018
The eighty-ninth Battle of Ohio belonged to the Browns Sunday as they took apart the Bengals in convincing fashion, winning the game 35-20 and securing their first road win in over three seasons.
Former Browns head coach Hue Jackson could not help the Bengals stop the Browns new-look offense under Freddie Kitchens. Baker Mayfield once again looked like the Browns’ franchise quarterback on Sunday, tossing four touchdowns in the game. This included a great 14-yard snag by fellow rookie Nick Chubb and a six-yard touchdown pass to tight end David Njoku where the entire offensive line lifted him into the end zone. Both plays showed a great effort by everyone involved. The Browns let up on the gas pedal in the second half, but Mayfield still had an amazing day, posting a 143.9 rating for the game. This is a great sign going forward. Everybody got their share of the ball, and it was fun to watch.
The Browns running game controlled the line of scrimmage for most of the run plays Sunday. After the Carlos Hyde trade, Nick Chubb has come unglued as the unquestioned bell cow of the Browns run game. Not only did Chubb have a receiving touchdown, but he ran one in from a yard out in the second quarter. Chubb finished with only 84 yards on 28 carries, but the carries did their justice. They controlled the clock and kept the Bengals defense on the field. The only thing negative I will say about the run game is I would like to see Duke Johnson get more touches, especially in a blowout. Johnson touched the ball only two times in the run game for 16 yards, netting an average of eight yards per carry. If Johnson can get a few more carries going forward, it will limit the pounding Chubb takes, and it will provide a spark for the running game when Chubb is getting bottled up. Overall though, I am impressed with the run game as well since Kitchens took over the play calling. They are more committed to the run which is great to see.
The Browns defense played the best they have all year in the first half Sunday, highlighted by an interception by safety Damarious Randall. After the pick, Randall ran to the sideline and gave Hue Jackson the ball as a “gift” for coaching him. It is great to see the Browns defense playing with so much swag under Gregg Williams. They were flying all over the place, including injuring Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton who left the game with a thumb injury in the third quarter. Their backup Jeff Driskel came in and did a nice job, but that was mostly when the Browns let up their assault on the Bengals. The numbers are skewed to not look as good as they are since the Bengals put up a lot of stats in garbage time. However, the Browns pass defense overall was terrific Sunday and they need to be going forward if they want a chance to make a run at the end of the season.
The run defense was decent for the Browns Sunday. Joe Mixon ran the ball 14 times for 89 yards, but the Browns made the plays in the run game when they had to. The Browns have struggled against the run all year long except for the Falcons game a couple weeks ago, so to me, it is a concern. They will just have to keep working on it going forward because it is the one thing on defense they need to clean up for the foreseeable future if they want to make some noise in the AFC come December and January.
Next week, the Browns travel on the road for the first time since week eight when they go to Houston to take on Deshaun Watson and the Texans.