Cleveland Browns vs. Miami Dolphins Game Thread
The Cleveland Browns are 4-6, coming off wins against the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers. A win against the Miami Dolphins would be their third in a row and keep their playoff hopes alive. The Dolphins are in the position of spoilers at 2-8, at a massive disadvantage in terms of talent.
The Dolphins have traded away multiple key players in exchange for future draft picks, but they've also lost players to injured reserve, placing both Reshad Jones and Bobby McCain there just this week. Combined with the loss of Xavien Howard to injured reserve and Minkah Fitzpatrick to a trade, the Dolphins secondary is behind held together with duct tape.
The Browns will be without three starting defensive linemen between an injury to Olivier Vernon and suspensions to both Myles Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi. Sheldon Richardson is the last man standing and will need contributions from Chad Thomas and Devaroe Lawrence if the Browns are going to have success up front.
Both teams are coming into this game with players missing on the defensive side of the ball, which could enable this game to be a high-scoring affair. The Browns are in good shape on offense with Baker Mayfield playing better the last month. The addition of Kareem Hunt and Wyatt Teller have provided a boost, giving the team more options on that side of the ball. It's unclear how the Dolphins will be able to defend Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry.
For the Dolphins, if the Browns pass rush is ineffective, Ryan Fitzpatrick has proven capable to sit back and pick apart a secondary. DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki could prove problematic for the Browns defensive backs, especially as Greedy Williams has struggled with teams going after him relentlessly.
The Browns a big talent advantage and are heavy favorites in this game, but they need to go out and prove it, putting the Dolphins away and not letting them hang around as they did the Pittsburgh Steelers last week.
The Cleveland Browns start the ball and open the game in a traditional formation with a tight end to the right and Mayfield under center. After faking the pitch, Baker Mayfield works to the right and does a throw back screen to his left finding Nick Chubb, who makes a jump cut out to his left before finding a big lane up the sideline for 32 yards.
Same formation, no motion, Mayfield gives the ball to Chubb going to the right. On second down, they go with a deuces tight formation and after initially missing Kareem Hunt wide open to the left slipping out of the backfield, Mayfield extends the play rolling to his right and finding Jarvis Landry at the sideline to the right for another completion.
The Dolphins jump offside, setting up 1st-and-5, the Browns give to Chubb for a 2-yard gain. They go with a bunch formation and with the near wing and the back going left for window dressing, Mayfield rolls to his right checking down. Wyatt Teller was called for illegal man downfield as the play appeared to take too long in developing.
2nd-and-8, the Browns call timeout, their first. From the Dolphins 18, Mayfield tries to hit Hunt to hi right in the flat and the pass is slightly off and Hunt can't adjust, unable to catch the pass.
3rd-and-8, Mayfield drops back looking for a tight end up the seam, steps up in the pocket and goes for a shallow cross from Landry with a defensive back grabbing him, drawing the flag and a new set of downs.
from the 15 with two tight ends attached on the right, Mayfield from under center hands off to Chubb going to his left for a couple.
With motion going left, they go back to Chubb this time to the right for a few more, setting up 3rd-and-2.
From the always treacherous empty formation, Mayfield looks to his right finding Landry on an in-route with a possession, who boxes out the defender and is able to dive into the end zone for the touchdown. Austin Seibert adds the extra point, making it 7-0.
The Browns have been outstanding on opening drives the last three games, able to score with relative ease. This drive had a few bumps and ultimately cost a timeout, but they do take the lead.
Austin Seibert kicks the kickoff out of bounds, setting the Dolphins up at their own 40.
Mirroring the Browns approach, the Dolphins come out condensed with multiple tight ends using a naked rollout getting the ball to the flat but Denzel Ward made a nice open field tackle.
After a second down run for little gain, the Dolphins appear to quick snap it out of error and with the Dolphins confused, the Browns get in and take Fitzpatrick down for a sack. They declined an illegal shift call, forcing them to punt.
The Browns start their second drive in a trey formation with a tight end and slot to the right. They run with Chubb to the strength but Teller gets called for a holding penalty. 1st-and-16, same formation, the Browns run zone right with Chubb finding a cutback lane, able to find 7 yards.
On 2nd-and-9, they rub into a Nick Chubb wheel to the right with Mayfield hitting him quickly and able to get a first down. Back to Chubb on first down, they gain 9, but the following play, the snap goes off when Mayfield isn't looking and they have to chase the ball, losing 19 yards.
On the ensuing 3rd-and-20, Mayfield can't find a receiver, which is meaningless due to an illegal formation penalty. The Browns killed their drive with self-inflicted wounds, between the botched snap and penalties.
The Dolphins haven't done anything on defense to stop the Browns at this point. It's entirely their own mistakes. Browns punt it away and the Dolphins get called for a block in the back on the return.
Dolphins come out with twins right and Fitzpatrick drops back, throwing to the right to no one. The two were running different plays.
After a Kalen Ballage carry goes a yard, Fitzpatrick throws another duck into the void near no one. The Dolphins have to punt and through two offensive possessions, they have -6 yards.
Browns start at their own 40 and throw a smoke screen to Odell Beckham. Greg Robinson gets enough of the defender but rallying defenders stop it for a gain of 4. Chubb follows that up with a run to the left that picks up the first down.
The Browns run the fly sweep they dropped against the Buffalo Bills to Hunt for a three yard gain to going from left to right. On second down, Mayfield finds Jarvis Landy for a short gain, setting up 3rd-and-short. The Dolphins jump into the neutral zone during the motion by the Browns, giving the Browns a free first down.
Using another toss fake to play action, Baker rolls to the right, slides left and finds Odell Beckham down the field going from the right slot to the left seam for the touchdown. Another Seibert extra point and the Browns are in total control.
Mayfield has 127 yards and a touchdown pass to both Beckham and Landry now. The Browns got out to a similar start against the Steelers, so it's now a question if the Browns can take the Dolphins out of the game. There are still two minutes left in the first quarter.
The Browns to this point have been loading up the box, playing eight on almost every first down. After a run for one, the Dolphins complete a pass to the right, getting the first down, their first of the game.
The first quarter comes to a close with a Chad Thomas tackle for loss on a pinch, he was able to get enough of the back trying to cut outside that he went down.
With Kalen Ballage taking the snap, he looks to pass before scrambling forward for 4.
3rd-and-7, the Browns bring heavy pressure. Fitzpatrick tries to get the ball to his tight end, which would've been short of the mark, but Joe Schobert is there to defend it, forcing the incompletion.
The Dolphins set up for punt, opt for the fake trying to run up the middle but Sione Takitaki is there to stop it and the Browns take over at the Dolphins 44.
Coming out with another playaction rollout, this time to the right, Mayfield takes the easy profit to Stephen Carlson for 8 yards to the sideline.
Chubb gets the ball and picks up the first down. He's producing well on the ground, but he's fast approaching 100 yards on the day due to 54 receiving yards. They go to him again, this time for 6 yards. The third time in a row, Chubb picks up another first down. The Browns are controlling the line of scrimmage, got a nice surge there from the offensive line.
Fake toss playaction out of deuces with Hunt coming across from the wing to the left, Mayfield finds him with some space in front of him and he's able to get up the field and to the sideline for six. They go back to Hunt, who goes left behind a crack black for a short gain. J.C. Tretter is called for holding on the play.
2nd-and-14, the Browns go empty with trips left. Mayfield tries to fit a ball into Landry who's up the seam to the right slot, which falls incomplete, but they throw a flag on the defender who went through Landry trying to make a play on the ball.
From the Dolphins 5, Mayfield goes playaction, drops back, then gets flushed to his right and throws what looks like a desperate throw but is high enough for Landry to go up and get it away from defenders. That's 3 TD passes for Mayfield and 2 receiving TDs for Landry as the rout is on. Seibert makes it 21-0 and the Dolphins are helpless at this point. The Browns are making some really nice plays as well.
Mayfield is now back in the black for TDs to INTs for the season with 14 TDs to 12 INTs now. He's only thrown one since the bye week and that was on the shovel pass against the New England Patriots.
The Dolphins pick up their second first down of the game on a Fitzpatrick scramble. The Browns defense is utilizing all kinds of defensive looks as Wilks finds ways to try to confuse the Dolphins and hide weaknesses.
Despite three starters, blitzes are making Fitzpatrick feel pressure, occasionally when it's not there as he's falling off a throw that he's able to complete for a short gain. Fitzpatrick finds Allen Hurns wide open in the middle of the field on a slant with a defender rubbed off, able to put the Dolphins in Browns territory.
In Browns territory, Fitzpatrick finds a receiver on a drag route with Denzel Ward chasing, able to get his ankles for the tackle, gain of six. The Dolphins running game is getting nothing at this point. It's all passing.
On 3rd-and-4, Fitzpatrick tries to complete a pass to Albert Wilson, which is directly straight up in the air only to come down in the awaiting hands of Joe Schobert, who secures the interception. The Dolphins best drive of the game so far, the ball took a bad bounce and the Browns take over.
The Browns open up with backs crossing and the carry going to the right for a gain of 3.At their own 30, Mayfield finds Chubb on a swing to the right near the sideline for a gain of 4. Empty formation for the third time this game, Mayfield finds Landry on a whip route to the left going outside for the first down.
At the 45, the Browns go with the mesh slant, faking to Hunt going across, then finding Odell Beckham on the open slant. Good pass by Mayfield, they get into Dolphins territory.
They attempt a wing counter to Hunt, which is fumbled on the exchange. Mayfield falls on top of it to maintain the possession. 2nd-and-16 out of empty, Mayfield finds Demetrius Harris on a hitch to the right sideline, cutting the down and distance in half.
Bunch left, Mayfield half roll to the left finds Becham to the left side on a deep out. Defensive holding was called on the Dolphins, which the Browns declined. This was a throw in tight space, but it was right on the mark in terms of accuracy and Beckham boxed out the defender to secure the catch. Mayfield's accuracy has been fantastic in this game.
With a blitz coming from his blind side, gets drilled trying to throw a fade to Beckham on the right side. It falls incomplete. They went to a booth review and came back with defensive pass interference, moving the Browns to the six.
With an extra lineman in the game, the Browns run Kareem Hunt to the right, who goes behind a Stephen Carlson block, is able to get to the right corner for the touchdown. Seibert makes it 28-0 with 1:01 left in the half.
Dolphins come out throwing at the end of the half. After completing their first, Juston Burris reads Fitzpatrick's eyes, cuts in front of the receiver but can't come up with the interception. Fitzpatrick finds a receiver in the middle of the field to take them near midfield, then use their second timeout.
Mike Gesicki catches a pass on a Y cross for another first down, using their final timeout. There are 31 seconds left in the half.
2nd-and-3, Fitzpatrick finds Wilson in the middle of the field, who has to run all the way out to the sideline, breaking tackles to stop the clock, losing 4 yards. 18 seconds left, Fitzpatrick finds a wide open Devante Parker in the middle of the field, who breaks a tackle and gains a bunch of yards.
The Dolphins run up and clock the ball, leaving 1 second for a 36-yard field goal attempt. They convert to close out the half at 28-3.
Baker Mayfield is 16 of 18 for 198 yards, 3 touchdowns. He's been outstanding.
Nick Chubb had 10 carries for 46 yards, 3 receptions on 3 targets for 58 yards, giving him 104 total yards.
Kareem Hunt has 5 carries for 22 yards, 2 receptions for 9 yards on 3 targets, 1 touchdown.
Odell Beckham has 4 catches on 4 targets for 70 yards, 1 touchdown.
Jarvis Landry has 5 receptions on 6 targets for 45 yards, 2 touchdowns.
Joe Schobert has 2 pass deflections, 1 interception.
Chad Thomas, Bryan Cox Jr, Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams each have a tackle for loss. Sheldon Richardson has the lone sack.
The Dolphins start the third quarter running the ball for 4, which might be their best of the day. They follow up with a pair of incompletions, which will have them punting 43 seconds into the half.
The Browns start out running to the left with Chubb or a gain of 5.
Out of an empty formation, Mayfield finds Landry on a slant with Chubb working underneath. They follow that up with another attempted slant, this time where Mayfield goes behind Beckham, which deflects off of him and right to the Dolphins defensive back Ryan Lewis for the interception.
After holding the ball for an eternity, Fitzpatrick scrambles for a few yards. Sheldon Richardson from left end is the only Browns defender with anything resembling a pass rush.
Fitzpatrick is sitting back comfortably, picking the Browns secondary apart. No one is getting anywhere near him and he's more than good enough to take advantage. Fitzpatrick completes pass after pass before finding Mike Gesicki for a touchdown to the left seam. Dolphins make it 28-10, having scored the last 10 points in the game. This touchdown comes off of Mayfield's interception.
Trying to respond, the Browns run with Chubb to the right behind two tight ends for a gain of 3. Back to Chubb out of a split back look, he goes behind right guard for the first down.
On first down, Mayfield goes back to Beckham on a slant, this time to the right, but it's completed for a gain of six. They give to Hunt, running right for another first down.
Playaction rolling left, Mayfield finds Landry on a deep out. Tremendous pass to move the chains again. This time, a quicker playaction, going to Landry on the mesh slant, the pass wasn't as accurate, but Landry secured and another set of downs.
After a run of one, the Browns try to set up screen out of tight deuces, but when it's not there, Mayfield dirts it. On 3rd-and-9, the Dolphins produce immediate pressure, squeezing Mayfield in the pocket by Charles Harris driving Chris Hubbard into Mayfield's lap and the Dolphins get the sack.
Seibert misses the 46-yard field goal attempt and the Browns come away empty on the drive. The Dolphins, having scored the last 10 points, will have good field possession again. The Browns were able to easily move down the field, but two nothing plays and a negative play put them in position to come away with nothing.
The Dolphins are one-dimensional at this point, throwing on every play. After T.J. Carrie gets pressure forcing an incompletion, Fitzpatrick tries to go to the right sideline, which is broken up by Denzel Ward. On third down, Mack Wilson tackles a drag route for minimal gain, but there's a flag and it's being called on Damarious Randall for a late hit.
That extends the Dolphins drive with a new set of downs and they come out with an incomplete pass on first down. Fitzpatrick finds Parker to the left in front of Greedy Williams, who is also able to turn and get a few yards for another first down.
Another pass to Parker, this time a slant gets them another first down before Fitzpatrick scrambles to the left for 4. They then hand the ball off to Patrick Laird, who gets a big run to the left, setting the Dolphins up at the Browns 6.
Not quite a draw, Fitzpatrick tries to scoot out to the right, but Sheldon Richardson and Bryan Cox Jr stop him for a loss. It's being called a sack for Richardson at the moment, hiss second of the game.
3rd-and-goal, Fitzpatrick drops back, sees no one, is able to scramble up the middle for a touchdown. With the extra point, the Dolphins are down now 28-17.
After going incomplete to the right sideline while pressured, Mayfield goes left to Demetrius Harris for a first down. They then go with a mesh playaction throw and Mayfield waits, then forces it to Landry. The ball was late, shouldn't have been thrown. And they threw a flag for illegal man downfield because the pass was late.
On second down, they hand to Chubb who goes around the corner to the right to make it 3rd-and-inches. Mayfield takes the ball and pushes forward on the sneak to get the first down. Another mesh play action concept, Mayfield finds Beckham on the slant. Great ball placement to make it happen. The Dolphins are starting to sit on tendency, making these plays more difficult.
Almost in response to the pressed up coverage, Mayfield tries to go to Beckham on the left on a smash concept which lands incomplete, but they call the defensive back for defensive pass interference.
New set of downs, Mayfield slides to his left and fires a ball over everyone's head out of the back of the end zone. From the Dolphins 25, they hand it to Hunt who has to break a tackle to get 4 yards, setting up 3rd-and-6. He looks left, then slides to the right and throws a pass that appeared intended for KhaDarel Hodge on a corner route, but was over his head.
Seibert is able to hit a 40-yard field goal, making it 31-17. The Browns get a little more breathing room, but the lack of a pass rush is going to continue to be a problem.
The Dolphins locate Greedy Williams again and draw a defensive pass interference on him to start the drive.
3rd-and-6 showing a lot of pressure with man to man coverage, T.J. Carrie is able to eventually corral Fitzpatrick for a sack, ending the drive.
the Browns take over with a little under 10 minutes left in the game, handing off to Chubb to the right for 4. They go with another mesh playaction, this time for a quick fade to Landry who catches the ball over the corner's back. Incredibly high difficulty throw and catch.
Going with Chubb to the right, he gains one. Playaction from under center, Mayfield finds Landry deep down the seam on a back shoulder throw. It's a great throw and Landry makes it look easy on the catch.
After three failed passes in the red zone, the Browns settle for another Seibert field goal, making it 34-17.
On his first snap with the Browns Porter Gustin is able to generate pressure along with Bryan Cox for the sack. Cox got there first.
While being pressured to his right, Fitzpatrick throws a ball that gets tipped right to Schobert again for another interception, his fourth in two games. Terrible decision by Fitzpatrick while Schobert benefits from being in the right place at the right time twice in this game.
The Browns come out and run Chubb left for a big gain off tackle. They go to the right with Hunt who is able to gain a few yards when he cuts back to right guard.
A tipped interception off of Harris is wiped out by a personal foul on the Dolphins. Not a good decision by Mayfield, who is let off the hook.
Chubb takes a carry to the right, makes a good cut back, then drags a few tackles on his legs into the end zone. Chubb's first touchdown of the day has him at 106 yards rushing and gives the Browns a 41-17 lead with 3:26 left in the game.
The Dolphins are moving the ball as the Browns play off coverage just trying to keep tackling them. This is officially garbage time.
Browns close the game out, securing the victory. 41-24