EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Well...safe to say no one say this coming.
Without most of their receiving core and some key offensive linemen, the Browns shockingly lost to the 1-13 New York Jets 23-16 Sunday. Cleveland made a valiant comeback from 17 points down, but Baker Mayfield's three fumbles (including one on the final drive) provided the difference.
With the loss, the Browns failed to clinch a playoff spot, and cannot win the AFC North. However, if they manage to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers next week (besides any number of other scenarios), they can still make the postseason for the first time since 2002.
What follows is a drive-by-drive recap of today's action, with the most recent plays and updates closest to the top. Stay tuned for updates and analysis throughout the afternoon on 3News and WKYC.com.
1:18: On fourth-and-inches, Baker Mayfield fumbles for the third time today. The ball is recovered by Kareem Hunt, but short of the line to gain, and the Jets will take over and run out the clock.
2:52: Sam Ficken's 34-yard field goal attempt is good, and the Jets take a 23-16 lead. However, the subsequent kickoff goes out of bounds, and the Browns only need to go 60 yards to tie the game.
3:14: Baker Mayfield fumbles for the second time today, and the Jets recover at the Browns 17.
4:05: The Browns defense overcomes a penalty of its own and forces another Jets punt. Baker Mayfield takes over on his own 11-yard line.
6:16: A block-in-the-back penalty kills a promising Browns drive, and Jamie Gillan has to punt. The Jets take over at their own 35-yard line.
7:25: The Jets drive near midfield, but stall after a big tackle by Andrew Sendejo. D'Ernest Johnson returns the punt to the Cleveland 14, where the Browns will start their drive and try to take the lead for the first time since the first quarter.
12:38: The offense appears to be back on track, as Kareem Hunt caps off an 83-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown. However, Cody Parkey's extra point clangs off the left upright, and the Browns still trail 20-16.
1:21: The Browns' defense comes up with a big three-and-out stop, and Braden Mann comes out for the punt. He boots it to the Cleveland 17, where Baker Mayfield will lead his team back onto the field.
2:56: At long last, the Browns find some life on offense, as Baker Mayfield leads the team downfield before Nick Chubb finishes it off with a 1-yard touchdown run. There's life, but Cleveland still trails 20-10.
5:41: After a roughing the kicker penalty gives the Jets life, Sam Ficken is able to attempt a 50-yard field goal. However, the kick is blocked, and the Browns take over at their own 40.
8:29: The Browns offense continues to sputter, and another three-and-out forces another punt. The Jets get the ball back at their own 37.
10:26: The Browns' defense starts the second half with a thud, as Sam Darnold hits a wide-open Jamison Crowder for a 30-yard touchdown. The Jets now lead 20-3, and Cleveland is in deep trouble.
0:00: The Browns fail to get into decent field goal range, but still attempt a 61-yarder from the leg of Jamie Gillan. It falls short and wide, and we head into halftime.
2:20: The Browns offense is in shambles right now, as another sack of Baker Mayfield forces yet another punt. The Jets will start their next drive at midfield.
5:05: It looked like the Browns may have returned a Sam Darnold fumble for a touchdown, but the play was ruled an incomplete pass. The defense still holds to force a Jets punt, and Cleveland takes over at its own 9-yard line desperately needing a spark.
8:26: After being aided by a roughing the passer penalty, the Browns are knocked out of field goal range after John Franklin-Myers sacks Baker Mayfield. Jamie Gillan punts again, and New York will start at its own 10.
13:33: The Sam Darnold finds a wide-open Chris Herdon for an 11-yard touchdown, and just like that, the Jets lead 13-3. The extra point attempt was blocked.
14:54: Disaster for the Browns, as a Baker Mayfield fumble is recovered by Tarell Basham. The Jets take over at the Cleveland 30-yard line.
0:34: The Jets call a trick play, and the Browns bite hard: Receiver Jamison Crowder hits a wide-open Braxton Berrios for a 43-yard touchdown pass, and New York takes a 7-3 lead.
2:53: Another three-and-out for the Browns, who are struggling to run the ball. Jamie Gillan punts it 46 yards to the New York 34, and the Jets will try to get something going.
4:59: The Jets manage to pick up two first downs and get into Browns territory, but Myles Garrett puts an end to the threat with a big sack of Sam Darnold. Braden Mann punts again, and Cleveland will start at its own 13.
9:26: A nice completion to Austin Hooper sets up a 44-yard field goal by Cody Parkey. The Browns take an early 3-0 lead.
13:19: The Jets return the favor with a three-and-out of their own, and Braden Mann comes out for the punt. D'Ernest Johnson returns the kick to the Browns 40, and Cleveland will start with good field position.
14:03: The Browns go three-and-out (all pass plays) and are forced to punt. Braxton Berrios returns Jamie Gillan's kick to the New York 26-yard line, where the Jets will start.
A look at the list of Browns who will not play today, with some hurt and others waiting to see if they have the coronavirus:
- B.J. Goodson (reserve/COVID-19)
- Rashard Higgins (reserve/COVID-19)
- KhaDarel Hodge (reserve/COVID-19)
- Chris Hubbard (knee/IR)
- Jarvis Landry (reserve/COVID-19)
- Donovan Peoples-Jones (reserve/COVID-19)
- Jacob Phillips (reserve/COVID-19)
- Wyatt Teller (knee)
- Jedrick Wills Jr. (illness)
Nick Harris will start for Teller at right guard, while Kendall Lamm will fill in for Wills at left tackle. As for the receivers, Ja'Marcus Bradley and Derrick Willies have been elevated from the practice squad, while Marvin Hall will play his first game for Cleveland after being claimed off waivers from Detroit. Head coach Kevin Stefanski even held a walk-through for the new additions in a garage.