Playing a depleted New York Jets team was just what the Cleveland Browns needed to bounce back from a disappoint showing against the Tennessee Titans in their season opener last week.
Odell Beckham Jr. caught six passes for 161 yards and a touchdown and Nick Chubb added another score on the ground as the Browns got their first victory of the season with a 23-3 win over the Jets on Monday night. Getting a victory against the Jets could prove to be vital to the Browns chances this season as each of the next five teams they face are currently off to 2-0 starts (L.A. Rams, Baltimore, San Francisco, Seattle, New England).
The Jets were ailing coming into the night with starting quarterback Sam Darnold (mono), linebacker C.J. Mosley (groin) and defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (ankle) all out. The list grew Monday night as backup quarterback Trevor Siemian was lost to an ugly ankle injury and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was unable to finish the game due to a hamstring injury that kept him from practicing all week.
Even with the Jets absences, the Browns couldn’t hit its stride early in the game. An 11-play, 76-yard drive stalled out at the Jets’ 5-yard line forcing Cleveland to settle for a 23-yard Austin Seibert field goal. Seibert would add a 48-yard field goal as well before Cleveland finally found the end zone on a 19-yard run from Chubb early in the second quarter.
Siemian was injured on a roughing the quarterback hit from Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who had two roughing calls for hits on Siemian in the game. His replacement, Luke Falk, managed to keep the Jets moving after Siemian left the game as Sam Ficken delivered a 46-yard field goal to get the Jets on the board late in the first half.
But it was the only points the Jets would muster for the night. They came close in the fourth quarter until Le'Veon Bell fumbled away the ball inside the Browns’ 10-yard line.
Seibert would add a 43-yard field goal to close out the first half and Beckham would race for a nearly unimpeded 89-yard touchdown in the third quarter to deliver the knockout blow to the Jets.
Baker Mayfield completed 19 of 35 passes for 325 yards with the Beckham touchdown pass and an interception on the night.
Falk would throw for 196 yards on 19 of 24 passing in relief of Siemian.