Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield picked apart the Texans all day.
Baker Mayfield made the Texans and the NFL pay attention today, on the same day his former teammate Tyrod Taylor brought the Houston Texans into Cleveland. Taylor, in his own right, had a great game facing off with one of his former teams, the Browns. Through the first half, it looked like it was going to be a slugfest, with both Mayfield and Taylor trading big shots and big scores, but Mayfield was the last man standing when the dust settled.
Taylor and former Browns’ player Christian Kirksey made it anything but easy on the boys in orange but despite two-ex Cleveland guys stepping up, the Browns ended up winning 31-21.
The Browns’ offense was once again unstoppable, with Mayfield throwing a touchdown, rushing for another, and watching Andy Janovich and Nick Chubb rush for one more each. The team incorporated more tight ends than last week, resulting in Austin Hooper, Harrison Bryant, and David Njoku combining 11 receptions for the game.
All together they rushed for more than 150 yards, and three touchdowns, with Chubb leading the way with a YPC of 8.6 on the day. Fellow running back and sometimes-receiver Demetric Felton also had a nice game, scoring on a Mayfield reception, and nearly scoring a second time, while putting up 51 receiving yards on the game.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, however, for as well as the offense played the defense played just as bad. The first half was marred by defensive issues, with the Texans easily establishing long, time-consuming drives that affected Cleveland all half long. The team couldn’t get any real pressure on Houston’s Taylor, and he was able to do whatever he wanted for the defense. His first was a touchdown pass to Phillip Lindsay, and the second toucdown was a rushing touchdown by Taylor.
Taylor didn’t return in the second half due to a hamstring injury that he suffered at the end of the second half, causing the backup Davis Mills to come in and try to put up some points. He performed admirably in relief but he was clearly not the same type of player as Taylor.
The defensive issues continued throughout the game, however, as a Taylor-less Texans were still able to make some noise and do some damage to this supposedly improved Cleveland defense. A fourth-quarter touchdown completely upended the Browns’ defense, exposing them even further. Questions about this defense are only getting louder and louder.
Is this the talent’s fault or the defensive coordinator’s fault? It’s one thing to give up four touchdowns to the Chiefs but to give the scores they did, especially when Mills was in, to the Texans? That’s unacceptable.
Props have to go out to Janovich, who was able to rush for a touchdown, albeit one that was almost anything but. This was his first touchdown since 2019 and first as a member of the Browns.