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Celebrate! Cleveland Browns beat Cincinnati Bengals 35-30 for 1st win of Kevin Stefanski's coaching career

Baker Mayfield was solid all night, while Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for 234 total yards and four touchdowns.
Credit: Ron Schwane/AP
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., right, celebrates with running back Kareem Hunt after Beckham's touchdown during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND β€” Call off the pitchforks and torches, people.

The Browns picked up their first win of the year by beating the Cincinnati Bengals 35-30 on "Thursday Night Football." The team avoids its first 0-2 start in three years, while Kevin Stefanski picks up the first victory of his coaching career.

Baker Mayfield was solid all night, completing 16-of-23 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns. But the real story was the one-two punch of running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, who combined for 234 total yards and four scores.

Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow threw 61 times on the night, completing 37 of them for 316 yards and three touchdowns. Cleveland's defense struggled for much of the game, but Myles Garrett did come up with a big strip sack of Burrow in the third quarter to set up a Chubb scoring run.

The "Battle of Ohio" was played in front of 6,000 fans at FirstEnergy Stadium, with attendance limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The same number of spectators are expected to be allowed in next Sunday when the Browns host the Washington Football Team.

What follows is a drive-by-drive recap of tonight's action, with the most recent plays at the top:


0:43: Joe Burrow hits Tyler Boyd for a nine-yard touchdown, but the Browns will cover the onside kick and will only have to take a knee to end it with a 35-30 victory.

3:55: Just like that, the Browns answer right back on a drive where they didn't throw a single pass. The tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt barrels the offense down to the goal line before Hunt finishes the job, and it's 35-23.

5:55: The Bengals are back in it, as Joe Burrow hits Mike Thomas for a 4-yard touchdown after a costly face mask penalty by Porter Gustin. The Browns' lead has shrunk to 28-23.

11:22: Baker Mayfield makes his first mistake of the night as he's intercepted by William Jackson III near the goal line. A personal foul nullifies some of the return, but it's still Cincinnati ball at its own 17.


0:20: It appeared the Bengals had made it a one-score game, but Giovani Bernard's touchdown run was overturned on replay and the Browns defense shoved the Bengals back. Randy Bullock's 27-yard field goal is good, and Cleveland's lead is down to 28-16.

5:45: Two plays after Burrow's fumble, Nick Chubb takes it in for the score. The Browns now lead 28-13.

5:53: Myles Garrett comes up with his first big play of the year with a strip sack of Joe Burrow. Joe Jackson recovers the ball on the Bengals 1-yard line.

8:02: A fourth-down pass to Jarvis Landry and a long run by Nick Chubb aided a nice Browns drive, but the offense got shut down at the goal line and Chub was stopped on a four. Bengals ball at half-yard line.


0:02: Some costly penalties aid the Bengals on a sustained drive, but the Browns defense holds near the goal line to force a 43-yard Randy Bullock field goal. Cleveland's lead shrinks to 21-13.

1:31: Another crisp drive for Baker Mayfield and the Browns ends with a 6-yard touchdown pass to Willoughby native Kareem Hunt. After scoring only six points in Week 1, Cleveland is out to a 21-10 lead.

5:25: A nice Joe Mixon run is wiped out by a holding penalty, and Sheldon Richardson came up with another stop. Browns will start on their own 37 after the punt.

7:21: An intentional grounding flag against Baker Mayfield dooms the Browns, but the Bengals commit a penalty of their own on Jamie Gillan's first punt of the evening. Cincinnati will start at its own 13.

9:00: The Bengals answer right back on the first touchdown pass of Joe Burrow's career, a 23-yard strike to C.J. Uzomah. The Browns' lead is back down to four at 14-10.

11:54: The connection Browns fans have been yearning for: Baker Mayfield hits Odell Beckham Jr. for a 43-yard touchdown. The play stands upon further review, and it's now a 14-3 ballgame.

13:28: Near-disaster for the Bengals as miscommunication on the third down snap leads to a 22-yard loss. Sheldon Richardson had a nice sack on the series.

Akron alum JoJo Natson returns it to the Browns 43, where they will start.


1:48: The Browns answer back with a great drive of their own, only this one ended with an 11-yard Nick Chubb touchdown run. Cleveland takes its first lead of the season, 7-3 over the Bengals.

7:13: The Bengals took up more than half the quarter with a nice drive, but Adrian Clayborn came up with a big sack of Joe Burrow. Randy Bullock's 38-yard field goal is good, and Cincinnati jumps out to a 3-0 lead.


Both teams locked arms on the field during the playing of the national anthem, with none kneeling.

The Browns will be wearing orange pants with their white uniforms tonight, a nod to the "Kardiac Kids" of 1980 (40 years ago). Wide receiver Jarvis Landry is also wearing cleats honoring the late actor Chadwick Boseman, who died weeks ago at the age of 43.

Defensive end Olivier Vernon will not play tonight, while right tackle Jack Conklin is active but will not start. Adrian Clayborn and Chris Hubbard will start for both, respectively.

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