By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8
Browns 17 – Broncos 16
It wasn’t pretty by any means, but for the first time since 1990, the Cleveland Browns beat the Denver Broncos in Mile High Stadium.
Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield is everything fans have waited for these long, lonely years. While many questioned General Manager John Dorsey’s pick of Mayfield in the 2018 NFL Draft, week after week he is proving why he was the right choice.
For the first time since 1990, the Browns beat the Broncos! pic.twitter.com/bvGMhgubVg
— ESPN (@espn) December 16, 2018
And as excited as we are about the fact that we don’t have to draft yet another QB next year, the defensee was the real star of this show. Jabrill Peppers who’s played free safety, strong safety, punt returner, well heck, just about every defensive position on the team, took his game to an entirely new level. He had a great interception, not to mention a key sack that sealed the victory for the Browns.
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) December 17, 2018
While criticized for a 4th-and-1 call to go for it instead of kicking the field goal, interim head coach Gregg Williams clearly felt his defense was up to the task of holding on to the one point lead. After all, they completely stopped any rushing game the Broncos tried to muster.
Broncos came into Saturday’s game 7th in the NFL averaging 130+ rushing yards per game. Browns held them to 32.
— Andrew Gribble (@Andrew_Gribble) December 16, 2018
Broncos QB Case Keenum didn’t have bad numbers; he was 31/48 for 257 yards with two interceptions and one rushing touchdown. But without any run support, he just couldn’t keep the chains moving. When compared to Mayfield’s 18/31 for only 188 yards two TDs and two interceptions, the difference was clearly running back Nick Chubb and his ability to keep the Browns moving, gaining 100 yards on 20 carries.
So many things have been different for the Browns since the firing of Hue Jackson back in Week 8. Aside from putting together a 4-2 record since that time, they are on the verge of going over .500 for the first time in a long time.
They’ve won back-to-back games twice, they’ve won on the road, and they’ve won in the division. And those division wins become even bigger as we enter the last two weeks of the season with divisional opponents: the Cincinnati Bengals week 16 and the Baltimore Ravens week 17.
It looks like the Browns are no longer the joke of the AFC North. They will not finish last in the division and, indeed, are making a push to move up to second place. I predict quite a few odds-makers will be picking them to surpass the Pittsburgh Steelers next year and not only win this division, but be real contenders for the playoffs and – dare I say it – the Super Bowl!
I’ll just leave you with the AMAZING final call of the game where renowned Browns announcer Jim Donovan gets to celebrate with the fans… High fives for everyone!
“HE GOT SACKED! PEPPERS GOT HIM!”
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) December 17, 2018
Talk Browns football with Kate on Twitter // @ClvlndK8