The Battle for Ohio was a good one
Why is the quarterback position so important to ensure any NFL club to capture a victory? Simply put: in today’s game, both the Bengals and Browns quarterbacks – correction; make that young quarterbacks – are in constant position during the game to move their various chess pieces in order to achieve success.
In the origins of the game of American Football, the quarterback was simply the first backfield player to touch the ball and whose job it was to get each play moving along. But as the forward pass evolved, the position of quarterback ultimately became the power position for any offense’s success.
Baker Mayfield came to play today as his Browns killed the Bengals 41-16 in an offensive display that has been missing for weeks.
So who played well for the Browns against division rival Cincinnati? Who didn’t?
RB Nick Chubb – The Browns are built to run and why not? You have Chubb as your workhorse. His one-yard TD run in the second quarter was completely stonewalled, but he twisted and turned for a score instead. A thing of beauty was RG Wyatt Teller pulling to lead Chubb for a 22-yard gain at the end of Quarter #1. His fumble recovery on the pitch from Jarvis Landry to which he fell on the ball instead of trying to be the hero allowed three more points. The third quarter 70-yard scamper for another touchdown placed an exclamation mark in the game with lead blocks by Teller, Jedrick Wills and Harrison Bryant. 14 rushes for 137 yards coupled with an astounding 9.8 average per carry and two scores is a grown-ass man’s day.
RG Wyatt Teller – On Chubb’s 70-yarder it was Teller pulling from his right guard spot moving to his left and then led the hole ahead of Chubb before taking out LB Logan Wilson. His pass blocking has improved this year, but nobody in the league is a better run blocker.
Kickoff and punt coverage teams – This unit simply shines each game. Rookies Tony Fields, Greg Newsome and Demetric Felton along with Sione Takitaki are shutdown guys.
Defensive turnovers – Finally! Five turnovers in eight games just wasn’t cutting it. The fumble on WR Ja’Marr Chase was caused by John Johnson while A.J. Green recovered. Ward’s pick six was outstanding. John Johnson’s pick in the third quarter came right after Chubb’s long run. Anthony Walker had another interception that was negated. Four fumbles caused with one recovery.
No OBJ? No problem – The other guy known by his initials, DPJ, showed why he is the future playmaker of this team. His four-catch 101-yard performance against the Arizona Cardinals was that game’s lone offensive bright spot. Oddly enough, DPJ has had excellent games against the Bengals. His outside move on Cincy cornerback Eli Apple set up his 60-yard touchdown where Baker Mayfield hit him in stride. Must improve his blocking though. With just over 12 minutes to play in the fourth quarter, it was DPJ’s man Mike Hilton who nailed Chubb for a loss. If the block was made, Chubb would still be running. Big time catch with 6:48 remaining in the game that gave Cleveland a key first down at the two.
DE Myles Garrett – This dude is just too good. T Jonah Williams did not have an answer for yet another Pro Bowl output from Garrett. Flushed Burrow in the third quarter to force Troy Hill’s second sack. “Best Actor Award” goes to Garrett with just over eight minutes to play in the game on an alleged hold by OG Quinton Spain that negated a 32-yard completion to WR Chase and instead set the Bengals up with a third-and-25. Finished with two tackles, three QB hits, one tackle for loss, 1.5 sacks and numerous “Oh crap!” moments from the Bengals offensive line.
CB Greg Newsome – When told in the locker room prior to kickoff the rookie’s job was to cover the best rookie receiver in the game Chase, Newsome’s response had to be “who is helping with the double?” The one-on-one assignment reminded him of his college days where he blanketed his opponents. Chase finished with six catches for a paltry 49 yards. Did you notice the fourth-and-14 incompletion to Tee Higgins with 7:08 remaining? When Newsome went up and Higgins caught the ball with both hands, Newsome took both arms and inserted them into Higgins’ armpits from behind, then spread apart the receiver’s upper arms which dislodged the ball. That was remarkable.
CB Denzel Ward – His interception the length of the field for the Browns’ first points stunned the Cincinnati home crowd. Another fantastic play was a sure touchdown catch by Tee Higgins in the end zone, but when Higgins attempted to cradle the ball Ward stuck his left hand into the belly area and caused the ball to move which ultimately became an incomplete pass.
CB Troy Hill – Hill became the first Browns defensive back to net three sacks in one game. A truly terrific game. It was Hill on the delayed blitz with 8:32 left in the game that caused the pocket to collapse with yet another defensive sack. Solid game.
LB Anthony Walker – The inside linebacker was everywhere today. Finished with 13 total tackles, 11 of which were solo.
Defense on Bengals opening two drives – Good thing Denzel Ward took that interception to the house, because Cincinnati went down the field like they owned it and did whatever they decided on their first two possessions of the game. 20 plays and 10:15 of clock. The defense needed the Bengals’ offense off the field. QB Joe Burrow was 9 for 13 for 119 yards. In the first quarter. On these two drives. Thank you Denzel because it could be a lot worse. WR Tee Higgins had 40-yards on these two drives and while the Browns shut down rookie sensation Chase, Higgins was open every time. It very could have began 14-0.
Unforced errors and stupid penalties – Four pre-snap penalties in the first quarter alone – three by the defense. DT Jordan Elliott’s personal foul penalty was simply a knucklehead moment on an otherwise good defensive stand. David Njoku’s holding call from the two-yard line with just over six minutes to play did two things the Browns didn’t want: push them back 10-yards, plus stop the clock.
DE Jadeveon Clowney – The veteran appeared tired and uninterested in rushing the passer. No longer double-teamed, he could not get around T Riley Reiff and was mostly hanging back in case he could bat down a pass. Meanwhile, Burrow was finding guys open. He had no gas and as the game wore on he had less.
Losing Greedy Williams – Truly the best corner this season, he went out early in the second quarter with a reported shoulder injury. However, the defensive secondary responded with a very good game.
DE Ifeadi Odenigbo – Several missed tackles and a costly penalty was the mood for Odenigbo’s game.
Milk Bones – like eating apple, cinnamon and pine cone flavored oatmeal
QB Baker Mayfield – 7 out of 8 in the first half for 121-yards was excellent game management. The strike to DPJ was spot on. Nailed Felton on an early second half third-and-five for the first down. Gotta love a guy who will continue to play with a cut knee. Big time throw to DPJ with 6:48 remaining in the game that gave Cleveland a key first down at the two. Completed two stunning third down throws late with that completion to DPJ and then the subsequent touchdown pass to Njoku.
LB Malcolm Smith – His primary target in passing downs is the tight end. Bengals C.J. Uzomah was so wide open it was a wonder they didn’t call his number more often. Right before the half facing a third-and-11, Smith was one-on-one with RB Samaje Perine on a flip pass in the left flats. Smith completely whiffed to which Perine was tackled by John Johnson just short of the first down. Did not hesitate to fill the gap and nailed Mixon on the failed two-point conversion. Recorded zero tackles.
DT’s Malik McDowell and Sheldon Day– Day was just called up from the practice squad and saw plenty of snaps. In the third quarter he barely missed a sack when he passed LG Quinton Spain to go along with his half-sack. He was hit with a bogus roughing the passer penalty instead. McDowell could not be moved so the Bengals ran outside all day except on Joe Mixon’s two-yard plunge in which he was pushed out of the play by C Trey Hopkins. McDowell finished with three tackles while Day had two.
K Chase McLaughlin – The kicker remains a constant on the offense and continued to be his dependable self with 2 for 3 on field goals and 5/5 on PAT attempts. Had his first wide kick of the year in the fourth quarter making only two missed kicks all year (the other blocked).