It was great that the Browns ended the season with a win over the Bengals. However, the season has been a disappointment which nobody will dispute. The Browns started Case Keenum at quarterback, as Baker Mayfield was ruled out, and is looking to get surgery on his left torn labrum as soon as possible. It did not come as a surprise, as the team had nothing to play for except pride. As for the Bengals, they sat starting quarterback Joe Burrow and started Brandon Allen.
Cleveland struck first as Case Keenum connected with a wide-open Jarvis Landry for a 26-yard touchdown pass to give the Browns a 7-0 lead towards the end of the first quarter. It was not until the second quarter when Browns running back D’Ernest Johnson ran up the middle and scored on a four-yard touchdown run to give the Browns a 14-0 lead. Later in the quarter, Keenum felt pressure and tried to escape the pocket. Keenum tried to get rid of the ball and fumbled. It was recovered by Bengals’ safety Trayvon Henderson, who ran it back 29 yards for a touchdown. It became a 14-7 lead for the Browns. It was a deflating feeling as the Browns were in a position to score before halftime. Instead of going for the field goal, Keenum forced a pass into the end zone and was intercepted.
The Bengals offense was driving down the field, though DE Myles Garrett stopped them in their tracks as he secured a sack on second down. The Bengals were unable to score a touchdown and had to settle for three points, as kicker Elliott Fry made a 36-yard field goal to make it a 14-10 score. On the Browns’ next possession running back Nick Chubb ripped off a big run to put the Browns in scoring position. Unfortunately, the Browns came up empty as they failed on 4th and goal.
Cleveland would get the ball back after stopping the Bengals’ offense. Running back D’Ernest Johnson would compile some quality rushing yards that would later set up a 10-yard touchdown pass to running back Demetric Felton to expand the Browns lead to 21-10. The Bengals would not go down without a fight, as Brandon Allen rolled out and threw a four-yard touchdown pass to running back Chris Evans to cut the lead to 21-16. The Bengals went for two but were unsuccessful and the Browns survived a late-minute rally.
QB Case Keenum completed his day completing 17 out of 24 passing attempts, threw for 176 yards, two touchdown passes and the one blemish (an interception). Running back D’Ernest Johnson had 25 touches for 123 yards and a touchdown. Johnson has earned his spot on this team next year due to his performance when called upon. It was a little too late for Jarvis Landry to have a big-time game, who registered six catches, 75 receiving yards, and a touchdown. Don’t worry, the Browns have confirmed that Baker will return next season (which, I believe is the right choice). The Browns concluded the 2021 campaign with an 8-9 record and it will now be a long offseason for a team that had much promise. Stay ready dawg pound, this team will turn it around just have to keep believing.