Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for 210 rushing yards and scored a combined three touchdowns on the ground in a 35-23 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night.
Just four days after being throttled by the Baltimore Ravens, the Browns put together a much more complete performance against the Bengals.
Despite running 30 fewer offensive plays overall than the Bengals, Mayfield and the Browns were far more efficient and productive with the ball in their hands. The Browns out-gained Cincinnati by a 434-353 margin and finished with 215 total rushing yards in the game. Chubb finished the night with 124 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries for the Browns while Hunt rushed for 86 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Hunt also caught two passes for 15 yards and a touchdown.
Baker Mayfield complete 16 of 23 passes for 219 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
The fourth quarter pick of Mayfield by William Jackson helped the Bengals close the gap to just one-score with just under six minutes left to play. However, the Bengals were unable to stop the rushing attack of Chubb and Kareem Hunt as they sprung for gains of 26 and 33 yards, respectively, on consecutive plays. Hunt’s 1-yard touchdown run to cap the drive would put the game away for Cleveland.
The Browns scored on each of their first two possessions to build an early 14-3 lead. A 10-play, 75-yard opening drive was capped by an 11-yard Chubb touchdown run as the Browns jumped out to a 7-3 lead. On the ensuing possession, Mayfield would connect with Odell Beckham Jr. on a 43-yard touchdown to push the lead to two scores.
Joe Burrow would toss his first career touchdown pass to tight end C.J. Uzomah on Cincinnati’s next drive as the team’s traded blows early. Uzomah would leave the game in the fourth quarter due to an Achilles injury.
Hunt would catch a 6-yard touchdown from Mayfield as the Browns increased their lead to 21-10 with 1:31 left in the first half. Randy Bullock would convert his second field goal of the game from 43 yards out to end the half and pull the Bengals within eight at halftime.
Chubb’s 1-yard touchdown run would give the Browns a 28-13 lead midway through the third quarter. Bullock would add his third field goal from 27 yards to close the gap to 28-16. After Mayfield’s interception, Burrow would connect with Mike Thomas on a 4-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 28-23 with 5:55 left to play.
The Browns would quickly march for another score as they would march 75 yards in six plays in just two minutes as Hunt’s 1-yard touchdown run gave Cleveland a 35-23 lead.
Burrow would toss his third touchdown of the night to Tyler Boyd from nine yards out with 43 seconds left to play, but the Browns would recover the ensuing onside kick to ice the ball game.
Burrow would finish the game with 37 completions on a whopping 61 attempts for a total of 317 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Chris Weinke’s 63 attempts for the Carolina Panthers against the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 30, 2001 is the only time since 1950, via Pro-Football-Reference, a rookie quarterback has thrown more passes in a game than Burrow’s 61 on Thursday night.