CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Despite being gouged by COVID, many felt the Browns could still beat the Jets if they played their game- run the ball and do enough on defense. They did not do either.
Baker Mayfield fumbled three times, the third ended any chance of a game tying touchdown in the final minutes. On a fourth and one, Mayfield plunged into the line to pick up the first down. As he was surging forward the ball was poked out and recovered by Kareem Hunt, who seemed to then get the first down. However, in the final two minutes of the game only the fumbling player can advance the ball for the offense. The play was considered dead as soon as Hunt recovered it and the ball was turned over to the Jets on downs.
Mayfield’s two other fumbles were recovered by the Jets.
New York built a 20-3 lead in the game thanks to the turnovers and to defensive breakdowns by the Browns. Multiple times the team seemed to lose track of Jamison Crowder, who turned seven catches into 92 yards and a touchdown. Crowder also threw for a touchdown on a trick play. The Browns did battle back with two second half touchdowns. Nick Chubb scored late in the third quarter to cut it to 20-10. Kareem Hunt scored in the fourth quarter to make it 20-16, Cody Parkey missed the extra point.
As a team the Browns ran the ball 18 times for only 45 yards. Chubb lead the way with 11 carries for 28 yards.
The Browns could have clinched a playoff spot with a win after Pittsburgh beat Indianapolis, but will now have to see if they can beat the Steelers themselves next week.
The Browns played the game without their top four receivers: Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins, KhaDarel Hodge and Donovan Peoples-Jones, they were put on the COVID reserve list on Saturday after being in close contact with somebody who tested positive. Starting left tackle Jedrick Wills also missed the game with an illness not believed to be COVID related.