Browns Hue-miliate Bengals 35-20

Baker Mayfield throws 4 TDs as Cleveland snaps road streak

Daryl Ruiter
November 25, 2018 - 4:19 pm

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

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Cincinnati, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Safety Damarious Randall promised a beating on Friday and Sunday afternoon Baker Mayfield and the Browns delivered one.

At least for the better part of three quarters.

“I just want to credit my team for going out there and playing lights out,” Randall said. “Obviously they seen what I said, the whole entire world seen it, so I just want to take my hat off to my team for going out there and handling business.”

The Browns scored touchdowns on five of their first six offensive possessions, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was knocked from the game with a thumb injury and Mayfield threw for 258 yards and 4 touchdowns to lead Cleveland to a 35-20 win over former head coach Hue Jackson and the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.

“Everything seemed to be working,” Mayfield said. “That’s the way we want it here in Cleveland.” 

The win snapped Cleveland’s 25-game road losing streak keeping them from tying the NFL record and marked the first victories in back-to-back games since Nov. 2014. It was also the Browns’ fourth win of the season matching their win total from the previous three seasons combined.

“We’re taking the next step,” interim head coach Gregg Williams said.

Running back Nick Chubb got the party started by capping a 10-play, 78-yard opening drive with a one-yard touchdown run to give the Browns a 7-0 lead that saw Mayfield complete all six passes for 71 yards. It was the first time this season Cleveland got into the end zone on their opening possession and was the second game in a row they scored a touchdown in the opening quarter.

“It’s great,” Chubb said. “Just go out there and come out fast, come out how you get on top of them. I think it played out well for us.”

Chubb finished with 128 combined yards from scrimmage.

After allowing Dalton to complete his first five passes for 60 yards, Cleveland’s defense forced a misfire on third-and 11 before Myles Garrett blocked Andy Bullock's 54-yard field goal try, ending the threat.

Mayfield quickly marched the Browns back down the field in just four plays before finding Antonio Callaway in the back of the end zone for a 13-yard score and a 14-0 advantage with 1:37 remaining in the first quarter. Callaway caught four passes for 62 yards yards and the score.

After being pinned at their own four to open their third possession thanks to a special teams penalty, Mayfield marched the Browns 94 yards for a 21-0 lead highlighted by a 21-yard third down conversion to Callaway on a rollout to his right followed by completions of 24 and 21 yards to tight end David Njoku. Njoku, who went airborne at the three before being pushed into the end zone by a pair of offensive linemen, scored from six yards out on a throw from Mayfield for a 21-0 lead.

Njoku handed the ball to one of his helpers – left guard Joel Bitonio to imitate his ‘Chief slam’ celebration.

“I was just going to slam it and then he said 'chief slam,' so I was like, I think I remember how he does this thing,” Bitonio, who leaped into the air to spike the football like Njoku does, said. “Usually I’m not paying too much attention to it. So I tried to throw a little o-lineman razzle dazzle in there.”

Randall, who on Friday said that the Bengals were going to “get their ass beat” if A.J. Green didn’t play, picked Dalton off with 9:09 left in the second quarter and proceeded to hand the ball to former Browns coach and Bengals special assistant Hue Jackson after running out of bounds with it at the Bengals’ 44.

Jackson, who greeted several players and staffers before the game, took the ball and patted Randall on the helmet.

“Their sideline was talking a lot of smack in the beginning of the game,” Randall said. “That’s when I knew we were going to blow ‘em out, honestly. They met me in the middle of the field pregame talking smack. I know if I have them thinking about me, then I feel like I have done my job. I feel like I’m probably one of the best trash talkers in the world. If I have you talking about me before the game, that means you’re not focused on something you’re supposed to be focused on.”

Chubb made the catch of the day when he somehow caught Mayfield’s pass behind the head of Bengals safety Brandon Wilson as he fell into the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown and a 28-0 lead.

“Yeah, it was a great catch,” Chubb said. “I just locked onto the ball, I saw it and just got my hands on it and made a good play.”

Four drives. Four touchdowns in the first half for the Browns.

Cleveland didn’t punt until after their seventh possession, which came in the third quarter.

Mayfield became the first quarterback in the Browns' expansion era to eclipse 200 yards passing with two touchdowns in the first half and he threw for more yards in the first 30 minutes than he did in four of six games under Jackson and Haley.

Garrett helped the Bengals avoid a first half shutout when he jumped offsides on third-and-goal from the five allowing Dalton a free down. Dalton, who passed Boomer Esiason for second place on the franchise all-time TD pass list, found John Ross for a two-yard touchdown on the next play to make it a 28-7 game with 32 seconds left in the first half.

Garrett recorded his 10th sack of the season early in the fourth quarter.

Mayfield threw his fourth touchdown of the afternoon by finding tight end Darren Fells wide open in the end zone for a 35-7 lead in the third quarter. The score followed an errant Bengals snap over the head of Dalton, who left the game with a right thumb injury suffered on the play, that Emmanuel Ogbah fell on at the seven-yard line.

Backup quarterback Jeff Driskel relieved Dalton and completed 17 of 29 passes for 155 yards, threw a touchdown and ran for another as Cincinnati outscored the Browns 20-7 after falling behind 28-0, but their final two offensive series ended on downs.