CINCINNATI — What. A. Win.
The Browns beat the Cincinnati Bengals 37-34 Sunday to improve their record to 5-2. The decisive play came with just 11 seconds left, when Baker Mayfield hit rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones for a 24-yard touchdown.
Mayfield got off to a rough start with five straight incompletions (including an interception), but completed 22 of his last 23 for 297 yards and five scores. The performance comes after a week of questions about his ability following a blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The rookies had a major impact on today's game, with tight end Harrison Bryant tallying 56 receiving yards and two TDs. Peoples-Jones entered the afternoon without a reception in his brief NFL career, but had three in the fourth quarter, including the game-winner.
The Cleveland defense struggles all afternoon, although Myles Garrett had two more sacks and B.J. Goodson had an interception. Bengals rookie Joe Burrow threw for 406 yards and three scores, but his Hail Mary attempt was batted away as time expired.
Things were not all good for the Browns, however, as Odell Beckham Jr. left the field in the first quarter with a knee injury. He will have an MRI on Monday, but reports are it is serious.
What follows is a drive-by-drive recap of the action, with the most recent plays and updates listed towards the top. Stay tuned for more analysis all day on 3News and WKYC.com:
0:11: WHAT A CATCH!!!! WHAT A THROW!!!!!! Baker Mayfield hits Donovan Peoples-Jones for a 24-yard touchdown, & the Browns take a 37-34 lead!!
1:06: The Bengals are back ahead 34-31 after a 2-yard touchdown pass from Joe Burrow to Giovani Bernard. The Browns still have a chance, but are out of timeouts.
4:53: Baker Mayfield gets his fourth touchdown of the day on an 8-yard swing pass to Kareem Hunt, and the Browns are back ahead 31-27.
8:45: Just the that, the Bengals retake the lead on a 16-yard catch-and-run by Tee Higgins. It's 27-24 Cincinnati, but the Browns have plenty of time to answer.
13:13: The Browns take their first lead of the game as Baker Mayfield fires a 16-yard strike to David Njoku for a touchdown. 24-20 Cleveland, with Mayfield completing his last 15 passes in a row.
2:51: Joe Burrow again leads the Bengals into the red zone, but Denzel Ward breaks up a potential A.J. Green touchdown catch. Randy Bullock's 22-yard field goal attempt is good, and the Bengals retake a 20-17 lead.
9:32: Baker Mayfield is finding his grove, hitting Harrison Bryant from 6 yards out for their second touchdown connection of the day. The Browns and Bengals are now tied at 17.
0:15: Tyler Boyd makes a nice catch in traffic for an 11-yard touchdown, and the Bengals retake the lead 17-0 just before halftime.
3:39: A long, methodical Browns drive ends with Baker Mayfield hitting Harrison Bryant for a 2-yard touchdown pass. We're all knotted up at 10.
The big play came on a 28-yard catch-and-run by Jarvis Landry, his first reception of the day.
11:09: Joe Burrow leads the Bengals on another long drive before being sacked by Kevin Johnson and Sheldon Richardson. Randy Bullock's 37-yard field goal is good, however, and Cincinnati takes a 10-3 lead.
Another update: Odell Beckham Jr. will not return with a knee injury.
1:21: The Browns stall again after the takeaway, but Cody Parkey's 42-yard field goal attempt is good to make it a 7-3 ballgame. On the negative side, Baker Mayfield is now 0-for-5 passing to start the afternoon.
3:08: Myles Garrett to the rescue! The Browns' star defender gets yet another strip sack, and Ronnie Harrison pounces on the loose ball. 1st and 10 for Cleveland at the Cincinnati 36-yard line.
4:56: Kareem Hunt runs for a first down, but the Browns stall and are forced to punt. Jamie Gillan has to kick twice due to a penalty on the first attempt, and the Bengals will start on their own 25.
JC Tretter returned for Cleveland, but Odell Beckham Jr. is listed as questionable with a knee injury.
6:47: A pass interference penalty by Kevin Johnson puts the ball at the 1-yard line, and two plays later Joe Burrow sneaks it in to give the Bengals a 7-0 lead. In more bad news, Odell Beckham Jr. has been taken to the locker room after suffering an injury.
8:21: In what can only be described as a complete disaster, Baker Mayfield's first pass is intercepted and returned by Darius Phillips all the way to the Browns 24. What's more, both Odell Beckham Jr. and JC Tretter are down on the turf with injuries.
9:16: The Bengals got a few 3rd down conversions to get all the way near the goal line before a Joe Burrow pass was deflected by Denzel Ward and intercepted by B.J. Goodson. The Browns will get the ball for the first time on their own 4-yard line.