The Cleveland Browns kept hope alive for a playoff berth this week, defeating the Buffalo Bills 19-16. While the Browns only won their third game of the year, their roster definitely looks like one that has far more talent than the won-loss column would indicate.
Cleveland’s players to watch all performed rather well this week, although one of their stars was held well below his normal output.
QB Baker Mayfield
Mayfield 1, Josh Allen 0. In the first battle between two 2018 first-round draft choices, it was the No. 1 overall pick besting the No. 7 choice, as the cocksure Cleveland quarterback led his team down the field for a game-winning touchdown with 1:44 remaining. He was able to toss two touchdown passes, one to Jarvis Landry and the winner to Rashard Higgins, and avoid turning over the ball for the second consecutive game. He did take a sack in the end zone that resulted in a safety, momentarily tying the game at 9, but he was efficient and effective for most of the day. Mayfield completed 26-of-38 passes for 238 yards and 2 touchdowns.
RB Kareem Hunt
Head coach Freddie Kitchens used Hunt in multiple ways this week, lining him up as a receiver, using him in two-back sets with Nick Chubb, using him as a lead blocker, and running him in jet-motion to stress the defense. Hunt was a big part of the game plan, and his talent makes an already dangerous Cleveland offense that much better. He only carried the ball four times on Sunday, but he was able to run for 30 yards on those carries. He also caught 7-of-9 targets for 44 yards, making it a solid debut in Cleveland for Hunt.
WR Odell Beckham Jr.
With Tre’Davious White draped all over him throughout the game, Beckham had a tough time doing what he does best. He still managed a respectable stat line for the game—five catches for 57 yards—but it took 12 targets to do so. White also broke up four passes on the afternoon, as he had a tremendous game. Beckham didn’t lose his cool, instead making the most of the chances he had to face off-coverage or zone coverage, as those were really the only times he was able to catch the ball.
WR Jarvis Landry
A Bills killer for his whole career, Landry certainly lived up to the billing this weekend. He caught a touchdown on the team’s first drive, then immediately showed why he’s so well-loved in Buffalo by jumping up and taunting Levi Wallace right after the play. The penalty led to a missed extra point, as kicker Austin Seibert missed the 48-yarder. Landry made another spectacular catch on the game-winning drive, adjusting to a perfectly-thrown ball from Mayfield to haul in a pass inside the 5-yard line. He finished the day with nine catches for 97 yards and the touchdown.
DE Myles Garrett
Buffalo’s top goal from a protection standpoint needed to be limiting Garrett, the superstar pass rusher. He has the potential to destroy offensive game plans by himself, but the Bills were able to make him largely a non-factor on Sunday. Garrett had one tackle and two quarterback hits on the day, which is definitely a win for the offensive line.