The Cleveland Browns moved to 7-7-1 with a 26-18 win over their in-state rivals on Sunday, toppling the Bengals in a comprehensive win that was far more lopsided than the final score indicated.
Cincinnati found themselves within one possession of the Browns thanks to a blocked punt deep in Cleveland territory that led to a Bengals touchdown and two-point conversion, but with no timeouts, they needed to force a three-and-out to have a chance at a game-tying drive.
However, Baker Mayfield and the Browns had different ideas as just before the two-minute warning, Mayfield connected with David Njoku on 2nd and 4 over the middle. Njoku broke loose and nearly took it to the house, being brought down at the two — which was a very big deal in Vegas.
Mayfield jogged along the Bengals sideline celebrating and then stared down former coach Hue Jackson as he backpedaled down the field.
The Browns took three knees to seal the game (and allow the Bengals to cover and the total to push) and got to a .500 record going to the final week of the season for the first time since 2007, when they went 10-6 but missed the postseason.
Mayfield has not been shy about making his feelings on Jackson known, somewhat controversially, but his feelings are somewhat understandable. Jackson refused to let Mayfield take any reps with the first team in camp and into the season, even though he had showed plenty of promise and Tyrod Taylor was struggling to get the offense going. Mayfield only entered the fray after an injury to Taylor and led the Browns to an immediate win, and when Jackson was fired and went to the Bengals — where he was OC before going to Cleveland — Mayfield noted he was upset with what he felt was Jackson joining the enemy.
While that’s a bit silly, there’s plenty of other reasons why Mayfield and Jackson aren’t exactly the closest of former coach-quarterback combos, and on Sunday he let Hue know exactly how he felt after sealing a win for the Browns.