CLEVELAND — Earlier this week, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said he needed to get the ball to star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in a natural manner.
How's a 43-yard touchdown for natural?
Taking the ball over with a 7-3 lead over the Cincinnati Bengals in the second quarter on Thursday Night Football, the Browns offense appeared content to continue to establish running back Nick Chubb, who scored on an 11-yard touchdown run on the possession prior. Cleveland's ground game efforts, however, suckered the Bengals defense in enough for Beckham to break free with Mayfield throwing a perfectly placed pass for a 43-yard score.
After a review, the play on the field stood, giving Beckham his first touchdown catch of the 2020 season.
Mayfield's touchdown throw to Beckham came just days after a disappointing 2020 debut vs. the Baltimore Ravens. Despite being targeted a team-high 10 times, Beckham tallied just three receptions for 22 yards -- the second-fewest in any game in his six-year NFL career -- in what was ultimately a 38-6 loss to Baltimore.
The Browns' opener resulted in questions about the Mayfield-Beckham connection, head coach Kevin Stefanski's use of Beckham and even the Pro Bowl receiver's future in Cleveland. Nevertheless, all it takes is one play to change a narrative, and Beckham's big catch vs. the Bengals may have done just that.
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