ANALYSIS: Browns lock down first road win in three years in Cincy

Jake Adams headshot

Jake Adams

If Baker Mayfield was feeling dangerous two weeks ago, then I can’t imagine what he felt like on Sunday as the Browns’ rookie quarterback torched the Bengals for 258 yards and four passing touchdowns.

Fellow rookie, Nick Chubb, was another key part of the offense, this time in both the running and passing game. Chubb made a fantastic catch off the back the defender in the end zone. He was also used in slip screens early in the game.

This team has taken a complete 180, since the exit of Hue Jackson and Todd Haley. You could say this was exemplified after an interception by safety Damarious Randall. Randall handed the ball to Jackson on the Bengals sideline, who placed the ball on the ground. It was quite a funny moment considering Jackson took a defensive specialist job in Cincinnati after being fired from Cleveland.

The most important aspect of this win was that it was on the road. The Browns had not won on the road since 2015. Thankfully, they snapped that streak on Sunday in very convincing fashion. It’s nice to see the Browns break these terrible streaks; a positive sign of a transitioning franchise.

The defense had a positive day on the field, as well. A blocked field goal and interception in the first half exemplified this effort. While they did have a slip up in the second half, there wasn’t much to complain about.

It was interesting to see them struggle more once Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton left the game with an injury. Cincinnati has been hit hard by the injury bug this year; as its star wide receiver AJ Green has missed some time. If Dalton’s injury is severe, then the franchise might already be looking ahead to next season.

Freddie Kitchen’s offense has been revolutionary for Baker Mayfield. Mayfield has appeared much more comfortable in the pocket, and the results show that. He finally has got to showcase his ability to throw outside the pocket and evade pressure.

You can understand why general manager John Dorsey traded running back Carlos Hyde. Chubb is a true workhorse running back. In a league where guys are more patient in the backfield, Chubb runs downhill and gets the extra yards after contact. His integration to the offense has been a key part of the turnaround effort this season.

One big note for Kitchens: Never run a reverse play again. It just has not worked out this season and has only ended in negative yards.

Hopefully the Browns can take this momentum into the next week against the Houston Texans. The Texans have been red hot, and it will be a tough test for Baker Mayfield. He has not been sacked in three weeks, but multiple Pro-Bowler J.J. Watt will be looking to change that.

Jake Adams is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].