2020 seems to be the year the year that the Browns right all their wrongs in the franchises’ history. On Sunday the Browns beat the Eagles in a sloppy affair. This was the first time the Browns have beaten the Eagles since 1994. The key to victory: an upstart defense, who was playing without defensive player of the year favorite Myles Garrett.
The Garrett-less defense was by no means perfect, but in a year where anything can happen, they did just enough to pull out a victory. Speaking of the year 1994, the Browns are sitting pretty at 7-3, their best start since 1994, when Bill Belichick was roaming the sidelines in Cleveland.
The Browns held the Eagles to just 17 points, giving up a late touchdown in garbage time. Not only did they control the time of possession all game, they forced the Eagles into a putrid 2-12 on third downs. The rest of the stats, are relatively equal for the Browns and NFC East division leaders, the Eagles. Both teams ran 65 plays, and both teams gained right around 320 yards on offense. This was a game the Browns just wanted to win more than the Eagles did. They forced three turnovers, and only had one giveaway: a fumble by Baker Mayfield, forced by interior lineman Fletcher Cox of the Eagles.
In the first possession of the game, the Browns went were forced to punt after failing to gain a first down. The Eagles took the ball and looked like a team that would dominate this sloppy game. Carson Wentz and running back Miles Sanders, carried the Eagles to a ten-play 71-yard drive that ended at the Eagles one yard line, where Miles Sanders fumbled, which was recovered by the Browns back up strong safety Karl Joseph. Joseph was only in the game because Ronnie Harrison Jr. was sidelined with an injury,
On the ensuing Browns drive they went 95-yards down to the Eagles one-yard line, where Kareem Hunt was stopped on fourth and goal. Originally the call on the field was a touchdown, but after review, the officially determined Hunt never crossed the plane of the goal line so after going 95-yards on thirteen plays, the Browns came out with nothing.
On the Eagles ensuing drive, the Browns took charge of the game. On the third play of the second quarter, Carson Wentz dropped back and took a huge hit from behind (D.Ward), forcing the ball to flutter in the air. That ball was intercepted by third year linebacker, Sione Takitaki, who rumbled 50-yards to complete the pick six. The pick-six was by far the biggest play Takitaki has made as a member of the Browns.
The score remained at 7-0 in the Browns favor until half-time. After the teams emerged from their locker rooms’ to get the second half started. After deferring to the second half, the Eagles received the second half kick. Their offense was only on the field for a total of two minutes before punting the ball back to the Browns. When the Browns got the ball, Baker Mayfield fumbled on the second play of the drive, which was recovered by the Eagles. Fletcher Cox, one of the better interior defenders in the NFL, forced the fumble. He realized he wasn’t going to be able to take Mayfield down for the sack, so he made the smart move to just swing his enormous right paw at the ball, forcing the fumble.
The Eagles started their next drive from the Cleveland 19-yard line, where Wentz threw a touchdown pass to tight end Richard Rodgers. All in all the drive was a one-play scoring drive that only took up less than a minute, and just like that the game was knotted up at 7-0.
After the Wentz-Rodgers connection tied the game up, it was imperative that the Browns score to keep control of the game. The Browns used a five play, 47-yard drive that ended with a Cody Parkey 46-yard field goal, to give the Browns their lead back, 10-7. Kudos to Parkey, as Cleveland is usually the place where kickers come to die, but he has been well-above average this year.
The two teams traded punts on their next two possessions. However, Browns punter Jamie Gillan, pinned the Eagles inside their own five with just under 5-minutes remaining. It took the Browns only three plays to make a big play, as on second down Wentz dropped back in the pocket on third down from their own four-yard line, Olivier Vernon may have made the play of the day for the Browns, as he forced his way past left-tackle Donald Penn, and sacked Wentz in the end-zone for a Browns safety. Just like that the Browns were in the lead 12-7.
In the fourth quarter, the game would come down to who wanted it more. After the safety by Olivier Vernon, the Browns went on an 8 play drive that only gained 19-yards, forcing the Browns to attempt a 47-yard field goal by Parkey. Parkey’s kick was blocked by Eagles defensive-lineman Derek Barnett, and the Eagles took over from their own 37-yard line. Wentz led Philadelphia down to the Browns 29-yard line where Jake Elliott nailed a 43-yard field goal to inch the Eagles closer to pulling off the comeback.
The next Cleveland drive, the ground game took the Browns down the field. On the second play of the drive, running back Nick Chubb rumbled through the Eagles defense for a 54-yard gain, all the way down to the Eagles 7-yards line. Kareem Hunt capped off the huge drive by leaping into the end zone for six points. This gave the Browns a 19-10 lead with only nine minutes left in the game.
The Eagles failed to convert even one yard, with the Browns defense forcing the Eagles into a three and out. The next drive capped off the game, with Cody Parkey hitting a 28-yard field goal to put the Browns in the lead by a score of 22-0.
Wentz led the Eagles on an impressive 8-play, 65-yard that was ended with an interception by Browns corner Denzel Ward. The Browns went three and out on the ensuing drive, giving Eagles fans hope. Wentz threw a touchdown to Dallas Goedert to keep the game close, but it was to no avail as the Eagles didn’t recover the ensuing onside kick, all but ending the game with a Browns victory.
All in all the Browns are becoming known around league as a team that can play through any weather, and notch a victory, They won last weekend at home versus the Texans. The final from FirsEnergy Stadium was a Browns victory over the Eagles, 22-17
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland: 12-22 for 204-yards. He was sacked three times.
Carson Wentz, Philadelphia: 21-35 for 235-yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Nick Chubb, Cleveland: 20 Carries for 114-yards
Kareem Hunt: Cleveland: 13 carries for 11-yards and one touchdown.
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia: 16 Carries for 66-yards
KhaDarel Hodge, Cleveland: Three Catches for 76-yards
Rashard Higgins, Cleveland: Three Catches for 65-yards.
Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia: Five Catches for 77-yards and a touchdown
Richard Rodgers, Philadelphia: Two Catches for 48-yards and one touchdown.
Phildelphia hosts Russell Wilson and the Seawhaks
Cleveland travels to Jacksonville
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