Browns bounce back after week 2

The Browns’ endless woes finally held off during week two as they took down their divisional rivals 35-30.

The battle for Ohio was an entertaining one as the showdown between Baker Mayifeld and Joe Burrow combined for 535 passing yards. The two No. 1 picks looked sharp after both losing in week one. 

Although the two quarterbacks performed well, the real stars of the game were arguably the best running back duo in football, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt of the Cleveland Browns. Rushing for a combined 210 yards, the two were unstoppable, shredding through the Bengals’ run defense.

It is almost no surprise. Browns Head Coach Kevin Stephanski emphasized a heavy run and play action offense coming into the season. After an abysmal week one against the Ravens and completely abandoning the scheme, coming in against the worst run defense ranked last season, the plan seemed obvious: run the ball.

It worked to perfection as the two running backs accounted for three of the five touchdowns scored, and rushed for an average of 7.1 yards per carry. And the play action coming off the run was just as sublime, as Mayfield had nearly a 70 % passer completion rating. He also threw for two touchdowns and 219 yards on 23 attempts.

Though the offense was stellar, the appalling secondary for the Browns gave up 316 passing yards to a rookie Joe Burrow. With the Browns ranking 13th from ProFootballFocus, it has not shown in week one or week two, as the only decent play seen from the group of backs is Pro-Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward. 

It does not help that the mediocre defense is missing two key prodigies, Cornerback Greedy Williams and Linebacker Mack Wilson, which has shown to be costly here in the early going. The Browns secondary will need to find a source of leadership in order to keep the pressure off the offense and give them a better chance of winning.  After all, as the old saying goes, “defense wins championships.”

On the other side of the ball, Joe Burrow had a more than respectable game considering he has only had two starts in his early NFL career. The young quarterback was able to maneuver out of the pocket and throw some nice balls to his receivers. 

Unfortunately, his line gave him no protection as Burrow took nine total quarterback hits in which three of them were sacks. Still, his resilience and young athleticism persevered as he was able to get back up each time and move on to the next play. 

With such a bright future, Burrow will most certainly need better protection from his line to protect him from injury and damaging a promising career. 

Playing down in the game is also not favorable for Burrow. Attempting 61 passes in his second career NFL start is absurd. Having barely any experience in the league being a rookie and being asked to start, some of his reads and passing accuracy was not on par as he was missing receivers a noticeable amount. 

With only an average of 5.2 yards per passing attempt, and having a young career long pass of only 23 yards, this quarterback will have to start being more aggressive in order to move the ball down field and score touchdowns. 

It will be interesting to see how Burrow develops, as there is a lot of pressure on his back with fans expecting him to turn this franchise around and be the star quarterback they need. 

He was able to keep the game close, scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter and bringing it to a one-score game. But the Browns offensive firepower was too much for the rookie, as Mayfield and the rest of the backfield was able to demolish the scoreboard.

The Browns were able to seal the game with an onside recovery kick from the fullback Andy Janovich. From there the Browns were able to take a knee with a little under a minute to play and successfully claimed their first win of the 2020 season.

With both the Browns and Bengals not having easy schedules, it will be interesting to see how the rest of the year plays out. With the Browns having high expectations due to the amount of talent they have, hopes are high for a good year, and for the 18-year playoff drought to come to an end.