The good and bad from the Cleveland Browns against the Carolina Panthers.
The Cleveland Browns lucked into a win on the road thanks to the help of the refs, beating the Panthers 26-24 in a game that for a long-time looked like it would be a one-sided affair. The Browns may have won the game but the playbook on how to beat them is now written, as Jacoby Brissett looked awful, and the Brown’s secondary is still giving up too many big plays.
The first half saw the Carolina Panthers get bullied at the line of scrimmage by the Cleveland Browns and honestly, that isn’t surprising. What was surprising was how bad Baker Mayfield looked in turn. The Browns were able to deflect four passes in the first half, and in turn, controlled the line of scrimmage. Mayfield did put together a big series near the end of the half and exposed the Browns’ biggest issue, the safeties, in doing so.
The Browns offensively were powered by the running game, with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt doing most of the damage. Jacoby Brissett struggled in the first half, and if it wasn’t for a truly terrible play by a Panthers secondary player, the Browns would have only held a three-point lead going into the half.
The second half saw much of the same for the Browns, struggling to move the ball through the air and relying on the running game to not score, but eat up the clock. The Panthers looked much better in the second half, giving Mayfield far more time to throw. Do this, the former Browns quarterback delivered, getting the Panthers within two, scoring both of the last two touchdowns.
Mayfield would then lead the Panthers down the field to take the lead on a late-game field goal. The refs were all in on Cleveland, however, as a bogus roughing the passer call and a non-call on an obvious intentional grounding call allowed the Browns to get into field goal position to hit the game-winning field goal.