Game Balls: Browns 17, Broncos 16

Jabrill Peppers saves the day with game-clinching sack

Daryl Ruiter
December 16, 2018 - 2:02 am

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland (92.3 The Fan) – The Browns left Denver victorious for the first time since Oct. 8, 1990 Saturday night and with their sixth ‘W’ of the season.

Cleveland has won four of their last five and the 17-16 nail biter keeps them alive for the playoffs, at least for another week.

The victory also assured that the Browns would not hit double figures in the loss column for just the fifth time since 1999 – 2001 (7-9), 2002 (9-7), 2007 (10-6), 2014 (7-9).

It wasn’t pretty. At times it was down right ugly, but a win is a win and staying alive is the name of the game with two left on the schedule to play.  

Here’s who gets our game balls from Saturday night’s thriller at Mile High:

Jabrill Peppers – The sophomore safety from Michigan saved the Browns’ playoff hopes and Gregg Williams’ backside with a sack of Case Keenum on fourth-and-10 from the 50 to seal the victory. Talk about the perfect time for your first career NFL sack. Williams had just passed on kicking a 28-yard field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 10 that got stuffed leaving the game in the hands of the defense. Peppers intercepted Keenum late in the first half to thwart a scoring threat. He also recorded six tackles – two of them for a loss in the win.

Jamie Collins – Collins, who became a focal point of criticism earlier this season, showed up Saturday night. Collins tallied his third sack of the season, registered a quarterback hit and two tackles for loss.

Baker Mayfield – Mayfield overcame a first half slump that saw him complete just five of 15 passes for 56 yards after he ripped off a pair of completions in three throws on the opening drive, including a 31-yard strike to receiver Breshad Perriman. The TD toss marked the 11th straight game Mayfield has found the end zone. In the second half Mayfield bounced back to complete 11 of 13 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown – to Antonio Callaway early in the fourth quarter that ended up as the game winner. Mayfield, who crossed the 3,000 passing yards plateau, has the second-highest passer rating in the red zone this season behind Drew Brees of the Saints.

Nick Chubb – Chubb ran for and even 100 yards on 20 carries that included a 40-yard run in the fourth quarter. Chubb could’ve had a bigger day if not for a 35-yard run getting wiped out by a Greg Robinson holding penalty. Chubb leads the NFL in rushing with 687 yards since Week 7.

Breshad Perriman – Perriman doesn’t get many targets but when he does the ball is starting to stick to his hands. Case in point, Perriman was an early target of Mayfield’s on the opening drive and he hauled in a 31-yard touchdown with Broncos cornerback Tramaine Brock hanging all over him to put the Browns in front 7-0. It was his 11th catch as a Brown to push him over 200 receiving yards with Cleveland. Perriman also contributed to the ejection of Broncos cornerback – and former Brown – Jamar Taylor, who threw a punch at him.