‘We are going to enjoy it’: Browns 5-2 on season after outdueling Bengals

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CINCINNATI (AP/WJW) — Baker Mayfield overcame a terrible start to throw for five touchdowns, including a 24-yard go-ahead score to Donovan Peoples-Jones with 15 seconds left, and the Cleveland Browns outdueled the Cincinnati Bengals 37-34 on Sunday.

Nursing sore ribs, Mayfield started 0 for 5 — including an interception on his first attempt of the game. He then completed the next 22 of 23 passes. The last was the leaping grab by People-Jones to win it for the Browns (5-2).

“I think this game could have given this offense confidence to realize we can believe and trust in everybody,” said Mayfield following the game. “We always have a chance if we believe in that. It was the most important game to date because it was the next one. Right now, we are going to enjoy it. We are 5-2.”

Cincinnati rookie Joe Burrow played another terrific game, but again it wasn’t enough. He hit 35 of 47 passes for a season-high 406 yards and three touchdowns, including a 3-yard scoring pass to Giovani Bernard on fourth-and-1 to give the Bengals a 34-31 lead with 1:06 left.

Cleveland Browns’ Kareem Hunt (27) celebrates his touchdown with David Njoku (85) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

But the Bengals’ defense couldn’t stop Mayfield, who was roundly criticized after a poor performance in Cleveland’s loss to Pittsburgh last week, and Browns receivers who made some great catches as they worked down the field.

Mayfield was 22 for 28 for 297 yards. Rashard Higgins had six catches for 110 yards, and tight end Harrison Bryant had two touchdown catches.

“(QB) Case (Keenum) and I were talking. We said they left us too much time,” Mayfield said. “We got on the field, and everyone was talking about how we had to get to the 30 for a field goal. I told the guys, ‘Screw that. We are going to win.'”

With running back Joe Mixon out with an injured foot, the Bengals relied on Burrow, who has thrown for more than 300 yards in five of the seven games of his rookie year. Cincinnati managed only 81 yards on the ground, and that included 34 from Burrow.

“You are going to play in these type of games every year in the NFL,” said Browns Head Coach Kevin Stefanski. “You are going to have to come and win a game in a two-minute drive. I told the team last night, ‘You might have to go win it on the last play of the game.’ It has to be your mentality. To see them operate situationally was very impressive.”

A FEW MORE PEOPLE

This was the first game the Bengals were permitted by the state of Ohio to have a slightly larger crowd. The reported attendance was 9,732 with fans spread out through all the decks of Paul Brown Stadium with plenty of social distancing.

INJURIES

Browns: WR Odell Beckham Jr. hurt his knee in the first quarter and did not return. The team said he will have an MRI on Monday.

UP NEXT

Browns: host the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

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