Baker Mayfield tosses two touchdowns, defense stops Broncos on fourth down to give Browns 17-16 win


Baker Mayfield‘s 2-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Callaway against a depleted Broncos secondary helped lift the Cleveland Browns to a 17-16 victory in Denver on Saturday night.

Mayfield started strong and finished well around a rough stretch in the middle of the contest to get a victory that keeps the Browns on the fringes of the playoff hunt. Mayfield completed 18 of 31 passes for 188 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also lost a fumble on a strip-sack by Broncos defensive end Adam Gotsis.

The Browns were helped out by a poor strategic decision by the Broncos in the closing minutes.

Denver was down to just one truly healthy cornerback in Tramaine Brock after injuries to Brendan Langley and Bradley Roby, and an ejection for Jamar Taylor. Chris Harris Jr. (fractured fibula) and Isaac Yiadom (shoulder) were inactive due to injuries. Langley was forced out with a concussion while Roby sustained a facial laceration that sidelined him for a stretch of the second half.

Trailing 17-13 with five minutes remaining, Denver elected to kick a 29-yard field goal on fourth-and-1 at the Cleveland 6-yard line instead of trying to get the first down and/or a touchdown to take the lead. The Broncos elected that relying on their heavily depleted defense to get a stop was the chance they wanted to take.

Nick Chubb immediately broke off a 40-yard run to move into Broncos territory before making their own poor strategic call. Chubb finished with 100 yards on 20 carries for the Browns.

Cleveland elected to go for a fourth-and-1 at the Denver 10-yard line with 1:53 remaining instead of trying a field goal that would have pushed the lead to four. Chubb was stopped for a 2-yard loss, giving the ball back to the Broncos with only a field goal needed to rather than a touchdown.

The Broncos converted a fourth-and-2 to move out to midfield before spiking it to stop the clock. The three remaining downs went by without gaining another yard as Jabrill Peppers sacked Case Keenum on fourth down to seal the win for the Browns.

Cleveland grabbed the early lead on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Mayfield to Breshad Perriman on the Browns’ opening possession. 

After a pair of three-and-out drives to begin the game, the Broncos put together successive scoring drives to take the lead early in the second quarter.

Denver got on the board with 13-play, 88-yard drive bolstered by two key penalties against the Browns. A lowering the helmet penalty on Jamie Collins and a defensive pass interference call against Terrance Mitchell accounted for 34 of the yards gained on the drive. Case Keenum escaped a tackle in the backfield and scrambled for a 1-yard touchdown to even the game at 7-7 late in the first quarter.

Keenum completed 31 of 48 passes for 257 yards with two interceptions for the Broncos.

The Broncos followed it up by marching 61 yards on 12 plays on their next possession before stalling out at the Browns’ 26-yard line. A 44-yard Brandon McManus field goal gave Denver their first lead of the night at 10-7.

After completing two of his first four passes of the game, Mayfield was far less successful the rest of the half. He completed just 7 of 18 passes for the half for 106 yards with a touchdown and interception.

Greg Joseph‘s 40-yard field goal tied the game at 10-10 with 4:53 left in the half. Each team would get another scoring opportunity only for interceptions to thwart the chances.

After reaching the Browns’ 29-yard line, Keenum was picked by Jabrill Peppers on a throw into the end zone. Cleveland would get a chance to score as well only for Mayfield to be picked by Dymonte Thomas after reaching Denver’s 30-yard line.

Gostis’ strip-sack of Mayfield set up a go-ahead score for the Broncos. A 24-yard completion from Case Keenum to Tim Patrick moved Denver into Browns’ territory and set up a 42-yard field goal by Brandon McManus to five the Broncos a 13-10 lead late in the third quarter.

Three plays after Taylor was ejected, Keenum was then intercepted by T.J. Carrie near midfield on a pass intended for DaeSean Hamilton. Six plays later, the Browns would re-take the lead against a Broncos defense playing four safeties in their secondary as Mayfield and Callaway hooked up for a 2-yard touchdown.

64 responses to “Baker Mayfield tosses two touchdowns, defense stops Broncos on fourth down to give Browns 17-16 win

  1. I’m not a Browns fan, but as a longtime fan of the league it sure would be nice to see them be winners again. Hope this is the start.

  2. No surprise, the Browns are the better team right now. This will be the first time in my lifetime that the Broncos have consecutive losing seasons.

  3. Everyone wants to blame keenum for the broncos struggles. Only someone that knows nothing about football would say that. Keenum has no weapons, none, zilch, nada. Elway traded away keenums number one reciever, Emmanuel is injured. Keenums top 3 wr’s are rookies, both te’s are rookies, rb is a rookie, the oline lost 3 linemen and are starting 3 rookies, the defense has also suffered many changes for the worse. And they have one of the toughest schedules in the nfl consisting of mostly playoff teams and teams in contention for the playoffs. With all that said, keenum still had his team battling for a playoff spot and a same record as the vikings minus the tie. The difference is cousins and the vikings have an all star lineup on offense to work with and an easy schedule. If keenum and the broncos had the recievers and te’s that cousins had, keenum would have that second afc wildcard locked up with 10 wins. Keenum has a bunch of nobodys on offense. Not his fault. John elways should be fired. He destroyed the offense and defense. Broncos need a new GM that will surround keenum with some good weapons , fix the oline, fix the defense. Keenum was set up to fail with the 3rd string lineup he had across the whole offense. The broncos 6-7 record is pretty good considering the ”team” they assembled.

  4. if i’m gregg williams, i kick that field goal and make it a 4 point game. maybe the browns are kicker shy or something, which is understandable. but i would not bet on keenum driving down and scoring a touchdown in the final minute, but he can drive down for a field goal, especially since the broncos kicker is pretty solid. but williams made up for that by bringing heavy pressure on that final drive, which most coaches don’t do out of fear of a big play.

    broncos simply are not going to win games if the ball is in keenums hands. just when they thought they got a running game going, it’s completely stuffed to nothing. 8 guys in the box. force keenum to throw. sure keenum can move the ball a little bit, but he is not generating touchdowns.

  5. This is a victory for Denver. One step closer to Vance Josephs exit and more importantly, the opposing team was called for offensive holding for the first time since last season. According to Riveron and crew, nobody ever held Von last year and no one has held him or BC this year. Complete BS blatantly following the NFL script. Ooooh, rookie phenom BM brings Cleveland out of decades of pain. Holding, holding, holding, holding.

  6. This is a victory for Denver. One step closer to Vance Josephs exit and more importantly, the opposing team was called for offensive holding for the first time since last season. According to Riveron and crew, nobody ever held Von last year and no one has held him or BC this year. Complete BS blatantly following the NFL script. Ooooh, rookie phenom BM brings Cleveland out of decades of pain. Holding, holding, holding, holding.

  7. As a Browns fan, this was not Bakers night, it was a very very sloppy game. What was different was how we played it. This team never buckled when things went the opposite way. This team stood up when it had to. Having meaningful games in December means the world to us and even if we win out and do not get into the playoffs. I am sure as heck proud of what this team has done.

  8. Bold/Depressing Prediction:

    The Browns look like they have a better shot at winning the AFC North than the Steelers. No way the Steelers win out given the state of their defense. The Browns have the more favorable schedule and the Steelers habit of getting sloppy when it counts the most will rear it’s ugly head and pave the way for the Browns to shock the world.


  9. Well, if my Browns can win a game they played badly in, then maybe the worm is indeed finally turning in Cleveland. Good for them. So long to Denver’s head coach.

  10. This is one of the biggest wins since 1999 but I can’t help thinking about Joel Bitonio,who’s a captain,putting both hands on his head after Williams’ timeout. That’s a classic example of the “here we go again” loser mentality, the same thing Mr Future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas had and they may need to get rid of the losing infection once and for all by trading Bitonio next year.

  11. Issues on all fronts. Like a train on the precipice of derailment. Either make the right decisions now or become the new factory of sadness. Thank goodness for the sheriff stopping in! Thanks.

  12. Vance Joseph is the WORST coach in the NFL: 4th and 1 and you kick a field goal and decide to not call a tmeout and allow a delay-of-game penalty? He’s a LAME DUCK HC! As easily as bad as Steve Wilks: NOTHING to LOSE and PUNT on 4th and 1, even at your own 34-yard line down 10-0 in the 3rd quarter, HOW DO THESE GUYS GET HIRED AS HEAD COACHES?!?!?!

  13. Wow, the narrative on Greg Williams would have nosedived, if they lost that game. I dont know what he was thinking on that 4th and 1. I was okay with him going for it, but that timeout was horrible. Why would he call that time out, unless he decided to kick the FG? Calling that time out, then running it up the middle was terrible. (Also he stopped what would have been a game winning offsides penalty)

  14. The Broncos coach should be fired tomorrow for kicking a FG on 4th and 1 with four minutes left. Horrible decision. Winners go for the win.

  15. When they did decide to kick the FG…(Denver)…they needed to make a stop and get the ball back…so why did they take so long to get the FG unit out there and wast time on the clock knowing that they needed as much time as possible?

  16. None of the other rookie QBs are on the same planet at Mayfield. Josh Rosen is probably the worst of all the rookie QBs. Baker has won 6 games with a team that had only won once in two years. I was skeptical at first because of his diminutive size, but Im a believer. That dude Baker is hyper competitive and he’s the real deal

  17. The Browns win one game in three years. Dorsey comes to town and you have six and counting in one season. Congrats to Cleveland, looks like fun time for some time to come.

  18. The Browns are enjoying a great season. Most of the teams losses could have gone in the Browns favor with a favorable bounce here or there along the way. Finally the Browns appear to have a quarterback. Another draft going well for the Browns, playoffs in the picture.

  19. Congratulations, Cleveland. This has been long overdue.

    I asked in another thread last week but didn’t get an answer. What are YOUR thoughts about your current coaching situation? Has Williams earned the job? If he’s not your guy, who is? I don’t really care what the talking heads say, I want to know what YOU guys think.

  20. I think the Browns have turned the corner. They might just be average, which is OK in this NFL and major progress. A better team than Denver.

  21. Mayfield is playing out of his mind. Right now they are buying Williams psychological warfare. That timeout when they drew the Broncos into the neutral zone was his buffunory on display, didn’t he do that as coach of the Bills on a missed FG that was made after the TO. Anyway you can’t spoil what they’ve captured. Hope they do make the playoffs where you have a 1-6 chance.

  22. Finally! We can begin to dispense with the Factory of Sadness. That’s a big win on the road in prime time for this team. Happy for you, Cleveland! Go Patriots!

  23. Joseph pulled a McCarthy when he kicked the field goal down four. Soon, Joseph will be out of a job like McCarthy. As for the Browns, the stench from the Baby Huey era is slowly disappearing.

  24. Baby huey will go down in history as the worst head coach of all time. The browns should be 9-4 with competent coaching and officiating (raiders, steelers, saints)

  25. @The Almighty Cabbage: If Williams can finish out the season with two more wins, then I think we would be crazy not to keep him because that means Williams would have led the team to a 6-2 record down the stretch with the exact same players Hue had when we started off 2-5-1.

    This team has played the best ball that they’ve played in years under Williams and OC Kitchens; I’m in favor of keeping them both around because clearly the team is responding to them.

    Go Browns!!!

  26. Mayfield is the real deal. He may never put up the best stats in the league, but he is a winner and a baller. Cleveland is a #1 WR and a shutdown corner away from being a playoff team for a long time. Though I’m a Ravens and Texans fan, I can’t help but feel happy for the Browns fans. God knows they have endured way too much already. Enjoy it guys.

  27. therealraider says:
    December 15, 2018 at 11:55 pm

    Either Greg Williams is an Amazing HC or Hue Jackson was beyond horrible. I’m thinking Jackson was trash.

    Sticking with one quarterback is going to help this team immensely. If they can get a coach that will be there for a decent amount of time, that will help also. The coaching/quarterback carousel they were on was a killer, and that baseball front office didn’t help either.

    That said, Hue Jackson was out of his element as a head coach.

  28. Baker’s problem in the Game with Denver was the fact he was mile high. In altitude and attitude. He was pumped up too high.

  29. I am very happy to see the Browns playing better each week and win these kids of games. As much as I dislike Baker Mayfield’s arrogance, he’s got talent and looks like he’ll be the Browns starting QB for many years.

  30. I wonder if Gregg Williams got down on his knees and thanked the Good Lord last night. I’m talking about Mayfield getting the Broncs to jump on the hard count and end the game right there. Williams called time-out,nullifying it. The Broncs got the ball back… He’s very lucky that they didn’t do anything with it as time ran out.

  31. Two takeaways from this game:

    1) Hue Jackson wasted the early part of the Browns season. He is Norv Turner with less success. The Browns are a bit better than their record indicates.

    2) Coach Radio is a goner! For that matter, Elway needs the hook too! He got lucky in some drafts but Keenum is and always will be a journeyman.

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