3 Takeaways from Browns' Week 12 Win
On Sunday, the Browns held on for a 27-25 road win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field, improving to 8-3. Although Cleveland remains in second in the AFC North, it's one of the front-runners in the AFC wild-card race and would be the No. 5 seed if the season ended today.
The Browns amassed 459 yards of total offense, and Cody Parkey gave them a 20-19 lead with a 45-yard field goal with six minutes, 45 seconds to go in the third quarter. Nick Chubb scored on a 1-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to pad the lead for Cleveland, which held on for its third straight win.
The Browns haven't reached the playoffs since going 9-7 in 2002, but they will look to change that by securing a postseason berth over the final five weeks of the regular season.
Here are three takeaways from the Browns' win on Sunday.
Chubb's Impact Felt Again in Backfield
After the Browns' bye in Week 9, Chubb returned from a right MCL sprain that had sidelined him since he suffered the injury in Week 4.
Since returning, the running back has been putting up big numbers every week, and that continued Sunday at Jacksonville.
Chubb racked up a season-high 144 yards on 19 carries (his third straight 100-yard game) and a touchdown, his sixth of the year. That was a 1-yard scoring run that gave the Browns a 27-19 lead with 14:13 to go in the fourth quarter.
Late in the game, the Browns' lead had been cut to 27-25, and Cleveland had the ball at its own 25-yard line with 2:14 remaining. Chubb then picked up a pair of first downs on that final drive, closing out the win and impressing his teammates along the way.
"Chubb is a stud," Browns guard Joel Bitonio said, per Camryn Justice of ABC News 5 Cleveland. "The guy that I went after [on one of the final plays], I just tried to get some hands on him, and Chubb made a nice cut, got the first down and sealed the win."
Cleveland's running game is best when both Chubb and Kareem Hunt are healthy and contributing. And although the latter hasn't put up big numbers the past two weeks (83 total yards between the pair of games), the former has more than made up for it with his recent performances.
Landry Finally Broke Through for Big Game
Through the Browns' first 10 games, wide receiver Jarvis Landry hadn't had a 100-yard game or scored a touchdown.
It was a huge drop in production after the 28-year-old had put up big numbers throughout his first six NFL seasons, getting selected to the Pro Bowl five times and becoming a key part of Cleveland's offense the previous two years.
Landry finally broke through for a big game against the Jaguars, as he had eight receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown (all season highs) to help power the Browns' offense. His touchdown came on a 5-yard pass from Baker Mayfield in the first quarter and gave Cleveland a 7-3 lead.
It was the LSU product's first touchdown since Week 17 of last season and his first 100-yard game since Week 12 of the 2019 campaign. He was targeted 11 times, matching a season high. However, when he had 11 targets against the Las Vegas Raiders on Nov. 1, he had only four receptions for 52 yards.
The Browns won't have top receiver Odell Beckham Jr. for the rest of the season due to a torn left ACL. They could use another receiver to step up, and if Landry can build off this performance, perhaps he can get back to playing at the consistently strong level he showed in recent years.
Defense Stepped Up on Most Important Play of Game
Even though the Browns led for the entire fourth quarter, things got closer than they would have liked late.
With 2:14 to go, Jaguars running back James Robinson scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to cut their deficit to 27-25. Then, Jacksonville attempted to go for a game-tying two-point conversion.
That attempt was the biggest play of the game. If the Jags had converted, it's possible the game would have gone to overtime and could have had a different result. The Browns needed to make a stop on what had been an inconsistent day for their defense.
But with the stakes high, Cleveland's defense stepped up. Its pass rush forced Jacksonville quarterback Mike Glennon to roll out of the pocket to the left, then wide receiver Colin Johnson was in double coverage in the back of the end zone as the signal-caller's pass couldn't connect. That gave the Browns control, and they ran out the rest of the clock.
"We made it hard on ourselves there at the end," Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski said, according to Mark Long of the Associated Press. "We can be better, but it's a good team win and the guys fought and knew they would have to get that one."
It was the second two-point conversion attempt of the day for the Jaguars, and both failed on incomplete passes. The first came in the third quarter and kept the Browns' deficit at the time at two points. They took the lead for good less than five minutes later.