CLEVELAND — Former Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson was known for saying, “The scoreboard leaves no room for interpretation,” and current quarterback Baker Mayfield would tend to agree after Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.
Although the Browns started the game sluggishly on offense, they made enough plays to seal a 27-19 victory over the Bengals in the first installment of “The Battle of Ohio” for the 2019 season and their fourth consecutive win at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“It is still an NFL team when it comes down to it,” Mayfield said. “This was one of those games that we should win. We know that. There is no around that. If I said otherwise, I would be lying, but it is still a team that is going to bring their best shot, no matter what.
“It is a division rival that is going to come here giving their best game.”
Here is a look at Mayfield’s performance against the Bengals:
What Mayfield did
“How would Mayfield perform after suffering a hand injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday” was a hot topic of conversation throughout the week.
Mayfield completed 11 of his 24 attempts for 192 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, but while he struggled to move the ball through the air, the second-year signal-caller managed to rush for a touchdown in the first half in leading the Browns to their fourth straight home victory after starting the regular season with three straight losses in Cleveland.
When protection broke down in the second quarter against the Bengals, Mayfield was able to make a play with his feet.
On third-and-goal from the Cincinnati seven-yard line, Mayfield scrambled around left tackle, leapt from the three-yard line and hit the pylon while somersaulting through the end zone for the touchdown, his third rushing score of the season.
Out of the shotgun formation, Mayfield caught the snap and surveyed the field for an open receiver, but Cincinnati’s defense had the play well covered. Seeing that coverage, Mayfield stepped up in the pocket, quickly made the choice to run for the goal line himself, avoided a tackle attempt from Bengals linebacker Nick Vigil and broke the plane of the end zone for the score.
The Arizona Cardinals are next up for the Browns, in what will be a showdown of former teammates and Heisman Trophy winners from the University of Oklahoma in Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Kickoff for that game is 4:05 p.m./ET next Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Following the cross-country road trip, the Browns will return to Cleveland for the home finale against the Baltimore Ravens (Sunday, December 22) and end the regular season by completing this year’s “Battle of Ohio” against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati on Sunday, December 29.
“It is tricky to balance the singular game focus, but also, the big picture,” Mayfield said. “That takes a little bit of maturity, which I think we are realizing that we did it to ourselves to not have the chances this late in the season for playoff percentages.”
What they’re saying?
“I thought he was sharp,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said of Mayfield. “Sometimes, it just doesn’t go your way, and I don’t think the breaks kind of went his way, but he was still hooked up. He knew what to do with the ball, made some good throws and were close on a couple of them.”
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