CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns are 8-3.
No, that wasn't a typo. We aren't imagining things.
For the first time since 2007, we know that the Browns are not going to finish a season with a losing record. And with five games to go, the stakes are even higher.
The Browns were able to fight their way to a 27-25 win over a scrappy Jacksonville team on Sunday despite the fact that they were missing several key players, including Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward. They won with the determined running of Nick Chubb paired with a sensational performance by Jarvis Landry, who caught his first touchdown of 2020.
When you are 8-3, the things that concern you about a football team might come down to being nitpicky, but are still important to talk about. Jay Crawford and I discussed that and more during Monday's edition of After Further Review.
For instance, although Baker Mayfield continues to do a great job taking care of the football, he missed on two key throws in the red zone. He threw behind Kareem Hunt as the Browns were trying to put the game away and also missed a wide open Rashard Higgins in the end zone. That's two weeks in a row that Baker has been shaky in these situations.
Also, there is some fair criticism to be put on head coach Kevin Stefanski's play calling as the Browns were trying to wrap up the win in the fourth quarter. On 2nd and 2 from the Jags' 23, Hunt was stopped for a one-yard gain. On 3rd down, Mayfield threw behind Hunt. Then on fourth down, Hunt was stopped short of the first down. Where was Nick Chubb in that sequence? And why leave three points on the field when you are up by eight. A field goal gives you a two-possession lead with just over five minutes to go.
All that said, the Browns have put themselves in position for a postseason run as we head into December. They have two very challenging games coming up at Tennessee and then Baltimore at home. It shouldn't take much for the Browns to get motivated to play the Titans. It's a virtual playoff game, plus we all remember how badly Mike Vrabel's team embarrassed the Browns in last year's season opener. This coming Sunday is a great opportunity for payback time.
You can read Jay's thoughts on the Browns' win over Jacksonville by clicking here.
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