Baker, Browns top Bengals in wild finish to Battle of Ohio

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Mayfield’s TD pass with 11 seconds to play the difference in 37-34 Cleveland win

CINCINNATI -- Baker Mayfield threw a franchise-record 21 straight completions over the final three quarters to outpace Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals in their second Battle of Ohio meeting.

Burrow gave the Bengals a three-point lead with 1:06 left when he connected with Giovani Bernard on a fourth-and-1, but that left too much time for Mayfield to do some magic for the Cleveland Browns.

His only incomplete pass in the fourth quarter was a spiked ball, just before he found Donovan Peoples-Jones in the corner of the end zone on a 24-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds left to give the Browns a 37-34 win Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium. Mayfield was 0-for-5 to start the game but finished 22-of-28 passing for 297 yards and five straight touchdowns to end the game, the last coming with 11 seconds left.

Burrow threw a Hail Mary that Tee Higgins tipped backward toward A.J. Green in the end zone, but Green couldn’t come up with the ball. The rookie quarterback finished with 406 yards and three touchdowns, completing 35 of 47 passes with one interception, despite a slow start that included two turnovers in the first half and losing three starting offensive linemen, each exiting on the crucial drives to end the halves.

Left tackle Jonah Williams and center Trey Hopkins exited just before the final drive of the first half with a neck injury and concussion, respectively. Right tackle Bobby Hart was injured just before the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter.

The Browns (5-2) didn’t get a lead until the fourth quarter when Mayfield connected with tight end David Njoku on a 16-yard dime with 13:13 left. Burrow responded with two more touchdowns but Mayfield never faltered and the Bengals (1-5-1) simply ran out of time.

Cincinnati had taken a 17-10 lead into the locker room at halftime after Burrow led the Bengals on a late-scoring drive.

The Browns had just tied the game at 10 when Baker Mayfield found Harrison Bryant in the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown pass with 3:39 left. Burrow took the Bengals the other way and connected with Tyler Boyd in traffic on an 11-yard pass for the 17-10 lead with 15 seconds left before halftime.

Burrow turned the ball over twice earlier in the game. He was intercepted in the end zone on the first drive, but the Bengals got the ball right back when cornerback Darius Phillips stepped in front of Mayfield’s first pass attempt of the day.

The mistake proved costly for the Browns. Mayfield was targeting Odell Beckham Jr. and the wide receiver was injured trying to make a tackle on the return. He immediately exited to the locker room with help and later was declared out for the remainder of the game.

Cincinnati then took advantage of the short field and scored on a Burrow sneak from the 1-yard line for a 7-0 lead with 6:47 left in the first quarter.

The sloppiness of the game continued when Myles Garrett sacked Burrow for a 12-yard loss to force a fumble. The Browns recovered, then lost it when Williams made a tackle to prevent a return, but Ronnie Harrison grabbed it before rolling out of bounds to put the ball on the Bengals' 33-yard line.

Cleveland settled for a 43-yard field goal from Cody Parkey after Bengals cornerback Mackensie Alexander stepped up in the slot to prevent Jarvis Landry from making his first catch of the day on third down. Cincinnati responded with a field goal of its own, a 37-yarder by Randy Bullock to make it 10-3 with 11:09 left in the second quarter.

The Browns had just 99 yards of offense in the first half. Rashard Higgins finished with six catches for 110 yards, and Kareem Hunt had 76 yards on 18 carries.

Cincinnati was without running back Joe Mixon, and Bernard stepped up in his absence but finished with just 13 carries and 37 yards. Tyler Boyd had 101 yards on 11 receptions, and Green added 82 yards on seven catches.

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