Cleveland Browns

Browns maul Bengals, now hold fate of AFC North in their hands

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The Cleveland Browns are now 5-2 in their last seven games as they dominated the Cincinnati Bengals 26-18 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates.

Cleveland is on a 3-game winning streak for the first time since the 2014 season and sit at 7-7-1 on the season.

Baker Mayfield threw three touchdown passes and 287 passing yards as he inches towards Browns and NFL single-season rookie records.

He’s thrown 24 touchdown passes this season, the record is 26 by Peyton Manning (1998) and Russell Wilson (2012). The fact Mayfield has thrown those touchdowns in 12 starts while Manning and Wilson did it in 16 starts shows just how good the #1 overall pick has been this season.

His 3,349 passing yards are second by a Browns rookie quarterback and is 26 yards away from tying Brandon Weeden’s 2012 mark of 3,385 yards.

Nick Chubb ran for 112 yards and set the rookie record for rushing yards with 972 yards surpassing Trent Richardson’s 2012 season of 950 yards. This was Chubb’s fourth 100-yard game of the season.

While most eyes on the defensive side of the ball have been directed at Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers and Denzel Ward, Sunday’s win showcased some of the underrated players of the Browns defense.

Genard Avery and Larry Ogunjobi each recorded 4 tackles, two tackles for a loss and a sack individually and were the top players on defense for the victory.

Ogunjobi has been playing the last several weeks with at least a partially torn bicep but has been playing a significant amount of snaps and still producing.

Avery has been overshadowed by his rookie classmates but has been great for a fifth-round pick with 39 tackles (5 for a loss), 4.5 sacks and 14 QB hits.

Now the Browns have a chance to play spoiler in the final week of the season while trying to earn their first winning season since 2007.

The Browns will travel to Baltimore to play the Ravens who currently lead the Pittsburgh Steelers by half a game. If Cleveland beats Baltimore, it’ll be the first time they’ve swept the Ravens since 2007 and would finish 4-1-1 against the AFC North for the season.

Baltimore wins the AFC North if they beat Cleveland but if Cleveland wins and Pittsburgh wins, Baltimore would be eliminated.

Pittsburgh needs to beat Cincinnati and needs Cleveland to beat Baltimore to make the playoffs.

So Cleveland can knock out either one of their rivals with either outcome of their matchup against Baltimore but I don’t think the team is worried about their rivals.

They’re focusing on winning another game to carry a lot of momentum into the offseason as they head into a coaching search (if they have a search) and an offseason where they can take a giant leap into contention heading into the 2019 season.

 

 

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