EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Baker Mayfield, who played without receiving his entire starting lineup due to COVID-19 and two of his starting lineup, stumbled three times against the Jets and the Browns lost 23-16 on Sunday to fall to 10- 5 and misses a chance to clinch a playoff spot.
The Colts lost to the Steelers, which would give the Browns the chance to clinch their first playoff spot in 18 years.
But it did not have to be.
Mayfield rummaged for the third time of the game with 1:18 left and a chance to equalize or win the game. He was trying to earn a first discount on a fourth-and-one-quarter-sneak, when he absorbed a hit in the back and fiddled. Kareem Hunt recovered and got under for the first time, but in the late fourth quarter only a fumbling attacking player can advance the ball. The officers noticed the ball briefly and handed it to the Jets.
The Steelers also beat the AFC North, so that’s out of the question either, and the Browns’ playoff chances have dropped dramatically.
Mayfield was stripped for the second time in the game with 3:14 left and the Browns 20-16 behind. With a significant third and 6 at his 15-year-old age, Mayfield had to be dipped and the Jets recovered at the Browns 17.
Myles Garrett got big on an important third point for the Jets and tackled Darnold, forcing him into an incomplete pass.
The Jets kicked a 34-yard field goal to increase their lead to 23-16, and the Jets kicked off limits to start the Browns at their 40s. They advanced to the Jets ’16, but Mayfield whispered for the third time of the game on a 4th and 1st goalkeeper, and Kareem Hunt recovered. The problem is that only the player who fiddles can recover it within the last two minutes of the game.
The Jets took over at their 16, with 40 seconds left.
The Bruines entered the game without six players who were on the COVID-19 reserve list on Saturday and one in the left tackle, Jedrick Wills, who was ruled out on Sunday due to illness. Wills, which were activated outside the COVID-19 reserve list as a close contact on Saturday, flew separately to the game on Saturday night as a precautionary measure. He tested negative for COVID-19 again on Sunday morning.
The players added to the COVID-19 reserve list on Saturday were receivers Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge, and linebackers BJ Goodson and Jacob Phillips. Goodson was tested positive for the virus and the other five players were identified as close contact with high risks.
Goodson will also have to put out the final game against the Steelers next season, but the Browns are hoping to get the other players back in the building by Thursday.
The Browns had to cancel their run on Saturday when Goodson tested positive and they closed their facility
Jets make it 20-3, but Browns close to 20-16
The Jets scored a 30-yard touchdown from Darnold to Jamison Crowder on their first ride of the second half for a 20-3 lead with 10:26 left in the third quarter. The play was blown up by coverage by the Browns, which left Crowder wide open on the right. Crowder also caught a 25-year-old on the 75-yard ride.
But Sheldon Richardson blocked a 50-yard field goal with 5:41 in the third to keep the score at 20-3. Earlier, he blocked an extra point.
Mayfield then trailed down the field to near 20-10 on a 1-yard run by Chubb with 2:56 left in the third quarter. The ride includes passes of 15 yards to Chubb, 22 to Ja’Marcus Bradley and 9 to Kareem Hunt. Mayfield also converted a 3rd and 1st series with a 4-yard car.
The defense forced a three-and-out and the Mayfield drove back into the field and put a touch on the board again, this one was a 4-yard run by Kareem Hunt that made it 20-16 with 12:38 left in the game. Unfortunately for the Browns, Cody Parkey hit left on the extra point, missing his second extra point in so many weeks. Parkey also missed a 48-yard field goal last week in the 20-6 victory over the Giants.
Highlights of the first half
The Browns trailed 13-3 at the half after fighter Jamie Gillan fell short with a 61-goal kick when the time was up.
The Browns rushed a total of 4 yards on nine carries in the first half, including 6 by Chubb. It was the least yards in the first half since 2015. The Browns also scored just 103 yards in the first half.
The Browns opened the scoring on a 44-year-old Cody Parkey field with 9:26 left in the first quarter. The Browns were forced to settle with the field goal after a miscommunication between Mayfield and Harrison Bryant on a 3rd and 14th pass.
Borrowing a page from the Landry package, the Jets went 7-3 in the first quarter with a 34-second pass on a 43-yard pass from Jamison Crowder to Braxton Berrios. This is the kind of play that Landry has performed beautifully for the Browns this season.
In the first play of the second quarter, Mayfield was stripped in his own territory and the Jets recovered and returned the ball 8 yards to the Browns ’30. Four plays later, Darnold fired an 11-yard laser shot at Chris Herndon to increase the Jets’ lead to 13-3 with 13:33 left in the half. Sheldon Richardson blocked the extra point.
The Browns showed a pulse on their next ride and marched to the Jets ’31 – in part due to a shameless call against Folorunso Fatukasi – but Mayfield were sacked for the second or third time in half to halt the ride.
The Browns thought Garrett forced Darnold to fiddle in the second quarter when he hit his arm, but that was incomplete. The Browns, who had recovered the prospective gimmick, challenged and lost.
The Browns host the Steelers Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.
New Browns face masks for sale: Here’s where you can buy Cleveland Browns-themed face masks for coronavirus protection for adults and teens, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a 3-pack ($ 24.99). All NFL proceeds were donated to CDC Foundation.
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