Five takeaways from a Browns victory over Jets
Things on my mind after the Browns 23-3 win over the New York Jets Monday night:
ODELL WHO: The Browns offense was sluggish at times Monday, and Baker Mayfield looked out of sync for much of the evening. In fact, except for a couple nice completions and a terrific Nick Chubb touchdown run in the second quarter, the offense was sub standard.
But that’s why you trade for a player like Odell Beckham.
Late in the third quarter with the Browns up 13-3, and with the ball on his own 11, Mayfield threw a laser over the middle to the star receiver.
And then OBJ became the laser.
He shot down the field, untouched, for an 89-yard touchdown. Some people said he was going 25 miles an hour.
I don’t know how to properly judge the accuracy of that. But it was clear as soon as he reached the end zone.
The game was over. The Browns were going to be 1-1.
Beckham had six catches for 161 yards Monday.
And yes, Jets’ assistant Gregg Williams — whose success as a defensive coordinator only is eclipsed by BountyGate and his penchant for speaking the ridiculous — had to watch his defense get burned by a player he said wasn’t dynamic.
I admired the way Williams ran the Browns last season as interim coach. But what he said about Beckham was stupid. And he got to see — up close — why.
The Browns offense didn’t exactly click Monday. But with a star like Beckham, it doesn’t have to but only for a few plays.
MY, MY, MYLES: Yes, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett was flagged for two personal fouls against the Jets.
Clearly, that has to stop. Not only was Jets starting quarterback Trevor Siemian injured and knocked out of the game by the hits, but better teams will turn those mistakes into scoring drives.
But the fact is, barring injury, Garrett is going to go down as one of the best pass rushers in franchise history.
On Monday, the third-year star sacked Jets signal-callers three times. He now has five sacks on the season.
Sacks became an official statistic in 1982. In three of the years since — 2005, 2007, 2008 — the Browns team leader — for the season — had five sacks or less.
Garrett has done this in two games.
As Garrett might say, “Ooh la la.”
BEATING A BAD TEAM: So, the naysayers are out after the Browns win. Yes, they beat the Jets, and yes, the Jets finished the game with their third quarterback, Nick Falk, playing.
Falk hadn’t so much as taken an NFL snap before Monday.
So, are the Browns supposed to apologize?
I don’t recall the Steelers feeling badly about getting to face Thaddeus Lewis — as a starting quarterback — in the 2012 finale. Or the 2000 Jaguars taking pity on Spergon Wynn.
If I have any memories of games like that, it’s of Ben Roethlisberger and his like laughing on the sidelines as those games wound down.
No one likes to see injuries. It certainly would have been better had Sam Darnold not been taken down by mono, and better had Siemian not been injured.
It’s just that, after two decades of watching the Browns be in the Jets position — over and over again — pardon me if my sympathy is half-hearted.
BELL’S STILL GOOD: For years, Le’Veon Bell torched the Browns as a member of the Steelers.
His uniform has changed. His ability hasn’t.
Monday, the Jets back had 21 carries for 68 yards, and 10 receptions for 61 yards. But perhaps most impressive was when he caught a pass in the fourth quarter — long after the game was decided — and made a highlight-reel play.
Falk threw a screen (the poor kid was leveled by Garrett again at about the same time) to Bell, who caught it on the left side of the field, then reversed course, heading the other way and breaking about six tackles before finally being corraled after about a 14-yard gain.
Bell was giving his all, regardless of the score.
It’s nice to be able to write that after Bell’s team lost to the Browns.
WELCOME TO THE BRIGHT LIGHTS: The Browns now go from playing one of the worst teams in the NFL to one of the best, as they host the Los Angeles Rams Sunday night.
The Rams’ were Cleveland’s first NFL team, moving to Los Angeles in 1946. They moved to St. Louis in 1995 before returning to California in 2016.
The last time the Browns played the Los Angeles Rams was in LA in 1993. The last time they met in Cleveland was in 1990. And the last time the Browns beat the Rams in Cleveland?
That was 1987, on Monday Night Football, back when that was the showcase game of the week.
The Browns haven’t been on Sunday Night Football since 2008 — in fact, that’s the only time they’ve been on SNF since the Sunday Night package became the league’s biggest weekly TV event.
This likely will be the biggest audience to see Baker Mayfield play a pro football game.
Don’t think he doesn’t realize that. But he could still play great — the Browns could play great — and the team could still lose.
That’s how good the Rams are.
It’ll be a test. But at least the Browns go into it with a little momentum.
Like a bolt of Odell-produced lightning.