Jets vs. Browns final score, takeaways: Baker Mayfield leads Cleveland to first win in 635 days
The Browns have found their quarterback of the future -- and they finally won a game
The Cleveland Browns won a football game for the first time in 635 days.
If No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield's performance (17 of 23, 201 yards) against the New York Jets on Thursday night was any indication, the Browns' 21-17 victory will not be the last game the team wins this season. Mayfield entered the game late in the second quarter for an injured Tyrod Taylor. It would be shocking if he gives way to Taylor ever again for reasons relating to anything other than injury.
Mayfield immediately provided Cleveland's offense with a spark it has been missing for quite some time, and he moved the team efficiently down the field, generating points on three of his four drives. The field goal drive to end the first half got things started for the Browns, but Mayfield also led two touchdown drives -- one each in the third and fourth quarters -- to bring the Browns back from a 14-0 deficit and snare their first victory since Christmas Eve of 2016.
Mayfield had some help along the way, as the Cleveland defense for the third straight game held an offense to a below-average performance. Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi did excellent work up front. Denzel Ward forced another turnover on the back end, setting Cleveland up in field goal range in the process. Joe Schobert, Chris Smith, Trevon Coley, and Genard Avery chipped with in strong play as well.
And in the end, the Browns -- the Cleveland Browns! -- came away with a win. Crack open, folks. This does not happen often.
Here are a few more things to know about Cleveland's first victory in seemingly forever.
It was an ugly night for Tyrod Taylor. The Browns' starting quarterback was dreadful from the start -- not that he had much help from his dreadful offensive line, which gave up three sacks and numerous pressures -- and ended up completing just 4 of 14 passes for 19 yards. He missed several open throws, including a deep ball to Antonio Callaway that would've resulted in a long touchdown pass. He under-threw Callaway by about five yards, and the pass fell incomplete.
In the second quarter he went down awkwardly while under pressure and eventually left the game with a concussion.
He was Jarvis Landry. (It's unclear exactly why the Browns ran a much more limited playbook with Taylor in the game than a rookie who had never played in the NFL, but that is certainly what happened.) Mayfield eventually got the Browns into field goal range in the two-minute drill, and new kicker Greg Joseph banged a 45-yarder through the uprights.Baker Mayfield, who immediately showed better rhythm in the passing game, including with his first career pass, which was a completion to
Mayfield showed all the skills that made him the No. 1 overall pick. He was accurate to short, intermediate, and deep zones. He kept plays alive with his mobility and made things happen outside the pocket. He fit throws in tight windows and threw guys open before they hit the top of their break -- the kind of stuff we haven't seen from a Browns quarterback in literally years.
Mayfield even caught a game-tying two-point conversion pass from Landry, on a play that should look at least somewhat familiar to anyone who watched last year's Super Bowl.
His presence in the backfield also loosened things up for Carlos Hyde, who found himself with far more room to run once Mayfield entered the game and eventually finished with 23 carries for 98 yards and two scores -- including (gasp) the game-winner.
Denzel Ward is a playmaker
The Browns came into this game leading the NFL with eight takeaways, and rookie cornerback Denzel Ward was a big part of that with two interceptions of Ben Roethlisberger during his first career start back in Week 1. Ward made another big play in this one, stripping Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson of the football deep in Jets territory midway through the third quarter, then recovering the fumble himself and returning it to the 8-yard line.
The Browns, being the Browns, only turned the opportunity into a field goal -- and one that just barely went through the uprights at that. In any event, Ward is off to a very nice start to his NFL career, as he's been a secondary complement to the Browns' playmakers up front: Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi. (More on them later.)
In contrast to the player selected No. 1 overall, the Jets' starting quarterback did not have a very good game. For most of the night, the only thing Sam Darnold could do with any consistency was fire quick screens to Quincy Enunwa, who would break a tackle and/or find a seam in Cleveland's defense in order to generate yardage after the catch and pick up a first down.
Darnold completed just 15 of 31 passes for 169 yards and two interceptions -- one on a throw he forced into double-coverage while falling down late in the fourth quarter, and the other a game-sealing pick on a desperation heave.
Darnold didn't miss a ton of open throws or anything like that -- he just never really got into any sort of rhythm and struggled to push the ball downfield. Some of that was due to the pressure the Browns put on him up front and some was due to pretty strong coverage, but he did not seem to have the same type of command of the pocket as he did in his earlier starts.
Darnold was in a tough situation on the road on a short week playing against an underrated defense and he will have better games in the future, but this was not his best effort and that's fully OK to acknowledge.
Cleveland's dynamic duo up front
Myles Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in 2017, is an absolute monster. He was electric again on Thursday night, putting relentless pressure on Sam Darnold right from the jump.
Garrett finished the game with two tackles, two sacks, a tackle for loss, a pass defensed, and another hit on Darnold. And it's arguable he wasn't even Cleveland's most impactful defensive lineman.
Larry Ogunjobi is a star in the making as well, and he was absolutely everywhere for Cleveland in this one. The final tally for O-Gun: a team-high eight tackles (four solo, two for loss) from his position on the interior defensive line, and a few plays where he just absolutely wrecked the Jets' guards and ruined things before they even had a chance to get going.
Revenge game goes sour
Former Browns running back Isaiah Crowell is now part of the Jets' timeshare backfield. Crowell did not see all that much success on the ground (16 carries, 34 yards), but he did manage to find the end zone twice, staking the Jets to an early 14-0 lead.
Naturally, he celebrated his second score by pretending to wipe his butt with the football and then throwing it into the stands. Something tells me the Dawg Pound did not appreciate the message.
Crowell was out-played by backfield mate Bilal Powell, who was much more efficient with 14 yards on 73 carries, escaping to the perimeter on several yards in order to gain chunks of yardage. Aside from the quick screens to Enunwa, that was the Jets' only source of yardage for most of the night. And of course, the Jets didn't even win the revenge game, which has to sting the most.
Browns first time in color rush
The BrownsThursday night.
If you ask me, it is absolutely not a coincidence that they won a game for the first time since 2016. They should rip up the schedule and wear these jerseys every week.
The 1-1-1 Browns have 10 days to prepare for the Oakland Raiders, and it would be absolutely shocking if Mayfield were not under center. The Jets are now 1-2 and have time to lick their wounds before traveling to Jacksonville to take on the terrifying Jaguars defense in Week 4.
You can relive the comeback win in our live blog of the festivities below.
Thank you for joining us.
Pick Six Newsletter
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Watch This Game Live
Jones took the field for four NFL teams during a career that included multiple suspensions...
The Packers quarterback put on a pathetic display, but was it on purpose?
The former Ravens safety won't be sharing any intel ahead of the Ravens-Rams game in Week...
Kansas City made it to the AFC Championship Game in January; here's what they need to do to...
Stafford has a point to prove
No team has more than two players on the list, but the Browns and Chiefs both have two in the...