CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Browns season ended the same way it began, losing to a team they were favored to beat. An all too common thing for the 2019 version of the team.
Joe Mixon ran for 162 yards and two touchdowns to lead Cincinnati to a 33-23 win at Paul Brown Stadium. His 2-yard touchdown run in the 4th quarter put the Bengals up 30-16 and really put the heat on the Browns to avoid a 10-loss season.
Baker Mayfield threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Odell Beckham, Jr. in the fourth quarter to pull the Browns to within seven. It was an incredible toe-tap catch for a score near the sideline.
The Bengals responded by driving with a field goal drive to reestablish a two score lead.
Mayfield’s 56-yard TD pass to Jarvis Landry in the final two minutes of the first half pulled the Browns within four of the Bengals, 20-16, but the Bengals added a field goal in the third quarter.
After a quick start at Paul Brown Stadium, the Browns went flat and watched the lowly Bengals take a 13-7 lead into the second quarter. And for much of the second quarter, the Browns were embarrassing themselves, unable to get anything going offensively, before Mayfield found Landry late in the half.
Bengals running back Joe Mixon racked up 103 yards on just 15 carries, in the first half.
Mayfield, who led the Browns down the field and into the end zone just a minute-and-a-half into the game, then struggled in the opening quarter, completing just 2 of 7 passes. One of those completions was his 46-yard TD to Damion Ratley to give the Browns the lead.
But the Bengals answered with two touchdowns of their own before the end of the quarter.
Cincinnati kept the momentum going in the second quarter with a third touchdown.
A 42-yard field goal from rookie Austin Seibert pulled the Browns within 20-10.
With the Browns’ disappointing season record, NFL Insider for The Athletic Michael Lombardi got Cleveland’s attention on Saturday morning with a tweet saying he’s hearing “more than just a head coaching change” is expected by more than one of his sources.
Last Sunday, a report from Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports said ex-Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer could become the next head coach of the Browns.
La Canfora’s sources also said Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Meyer have a “very strong bond," and have been long confidants.
Before and after the loss to the Ravens. rumors were also stirring about key player Odell Beckham Jr. leaving the team.
However, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported that the Browns made the trade in March “for now and the future.”