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Week 15 Game Recap: Cleveland Browns 24, Arizona Cardinals 38
What you need to know
The Browns dropped what appeared would be a winnable game against a weak Arizona defense. The offense didnít play poorly but also didnít fully exploit a Cardinals secondary that has been a weak spot for Arizona this season. The Cleveland defense was the main culprit as they were shredded by Kenyan Drake
, who had four touchdowns. The teamís frustration was evident on the sideline as Jarvis Landry
was seen arguing with head coach Freddie Kitchens during the fourth quarter. Landry later explained that he was unhappy with his usage in the game. Things donít get any easier next week as the Browns will face a red-hot Ravens offense that will surely be looking for revenge after losing to Cleveland in Week 4. Tight end David Njoku
was a surprise pregame inactive due to a coachís decision. There hasnít been much more information about it, but there is a report that Kitchens didnít feel that Njoku was ready to return when he was activated ahead of Week 14ís game. An Ian Rapoport report on Sunday morning indicated that team management planned on keeping Kitchens as head coach for the 2020 season but the ugly loss may have them rethinking that stance already.
posted a career day with four touchdowns and Kyler Murray
added to Arizonaís strong run game in the home win over the Browns. David Johnson
barely played (again) and the ancillary pass-catchers were key contributors with Damiere Byrd
leading the team in receiving yards with a season-high 86 yards and Dan Arnold
catching the teamís lone touchdown through the air. The Cardinals can play spoiler at Seattle next week.
|QB Baker Mayfield, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 30 - 43 - 247 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 11 - 0|
Mayfield didnít play particularly poorly but he also fell short of expectations against an Arizona defense that opposing quarterbacks have routinely shredded this season. His first pass attempt was a deep shot to Odell Beckham
Jr. near the goal line. Beckham was double-covered and Mayfield threw the ball too far out in front of him for even a catch attempt. He went right back to Beckham deep on the left again. This time Beckham dropped a catchable ball. It all goes to show that he and OBJ still have a long way to go when it comes to establishing chemistry together. Mayfield then ripped a 21-yard pass to Damion Ratley
. Unfortunately, Mayfield put an end to that promising first drive with an end zone interception. He was targeting Beckham (again) and threw too high for Beckham, resulting in an easy pick for Patrick Peterson who was behind OBJ. Mayfield heated up in the second half, throwing both of his touchdowns. On the first drive of the third quarter, he ran for a four-yard gain on a third-and-three to keep the drive alive. He then capped off that drive with a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ricky Seals-Jones
. Mayfield executed a nice run fake and then found Seals-Jones all by himself on the left side of the end zone for the easy score. In the fourth quarter, Mayfieldís accuracy started to crumble as Cleveland went into pass-heavy comeback mode. He threw too high for Jarvis Landry
, leaving the receiver exposed to take a big hit from a defender. He then came close to throwing a second interception when targeting Landry again. The Arizona defender actually did catch the pass but his foot landed out of bounds before he established possession. Mayfield took advantage of the second chance, finding a wide open Seals-Jones in the end zone again, this time for a one-yard score.
|RB Nick Chubb, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 127 - 1, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (3 targets)|
Chubb had an excellent game against Arizona although the team went away from him while in fourth-quarter comeback mode. Chubb had a quiet first drive, gaining just seven yards on three carries. He came back on the second drive to haul in an eight-yard reception. He really came to life in the second quarter. He picked up 17 yards on a nice cutback from right to left to find the hole in the line. He then exploded for a 33-yard touchdown run up the middle where he ran/hurdled over a diving tackle attempt. In the third quarter, Chubb lost four yards on a reception behind the line of scrimmage. He followed that up with a 12-yard gain where he broke another tackle about six yards into the run. Chubb then ripped off a 29-yard run where he displayed an impressive cutback to get the team down the to Arizona three-yard line. He saw a red zone carry from that spot, gaining one yard down to the Arizona two-yard line, which then set Ricky Seals-Jones
up for his two-yard touchdown catch. It was a quiet fourth quarter for Chubb, who had just one touch, a five-yard carry.
|RB Kareem Hunt, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 14 - 0, Rec: 8 - 62 - 0 (9 targets)|
Hunt didnít do much on the ground but he finished second on the team in receiving. He caught two passes for a total of 16 yards on the teamís first drive of the game. In the third quarter, Hunt added another catch, this time a four-yard gain that gave the team a first down on third-and-four. It appeared he was going to get stopped just short of the first down marker but an excellent second effort out of Hunt got his team a new set of downs. On the following drive, Hunt added a two-yard catch on a quick pass to the left. He finished up the third quarter with a seven-yard reception to the right side. Hunt saw plenty of snaps in the fourth quarter with the offense shifting into comeback mode. Hunt had a nine-yard catch on the final drive and appeared to have another nine-yard gain shortly after, but the second catch was nullified by an offensive holding penalty. His last two catches came on the teamís final drive. The first was a 16-yard gain up the middle where he broke a tackle to gain some extra yardage. His final touch went for an eight-yard gain for the team. Cleveland continues to find creative ways to utilize Hunt in the passing game, an area where he is clearly thriving.
|WR Odell Beckham, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 66 - 0 (13 targets)|
Beckham set a new season-high with 13 targets but he was unable to break any big plays on any of his eight catches. He did come close to having a really big game but just couldnít get any breaks. He saw a deep target on Baker Mayfield
ís first pass of the game but the ball was overthrown. He came back to catch a six-yard pass on that same drive. Mayfield then tried him again on a deep shot, this time delivering a perfect pass that Beckham had in his hands and then dropped. On the second drive, Beckham was credited with a target on a throwaway attempt out of bounds. In the second quarter Beckham pulled in a 17-yard reception on second-and-15. He tacked on one more catch in the third quarter, going for a five-yard gain on a screen. Beckham was extremely busy in the fourth quarter with the Browns shifting into comeback mode. He started off with another catchable target that he failed to haul in. It probably wonít be ruled an official drop thanks to good defense but it appeared to be a ball he could have brought in. On the teamís final drive, Beckham notched four catches and saw a few red zone looks. His first red zone target came in the end zone but the ball was thrown to wide right of him. He did take a big helmet-to-helmet hit on a four-yard catch but popped right back up after the play. He came extremely close to scoring a touchdown on his last catch, getting stopped at the Arizona one-yard line after an 11-yard gain. The chemistry between Mayfield and Beckham remains a work in progress.
|WR Jarvis Landry, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 23 - 0 (8 targets)|
Landry had a quiet game with Cleveland looking to get Odell Beckham
Jr. involved, which came at Landryís expense. His first catch came on the first drive and went for an eight-yard gain. He then caught a shovel pass and took it for six yards before inexplicably throwing a lateral back to Mayfield. In the third quarter he saw just one target, an incompletion to the right that was not catchable. He did most of his damage in the fourth quarter with catches of 10, two, and nine yards. He saw an end zone target on the teamís final drive. He pass was poorly thrown and caught by an Arizona defender. Fortunately for Cleveland, his feet landed out of bounds so it didnít go into the books as an interception. Landry was caught on the broadcast arguing with Freddie Kitchens during the fourth quarter. After the game, he told reporters that he was unhappy with his involvement in the offense.
Seals-Jones saw an uptick in usage with David Njoku
being a ruled out shortly before the game due to coachís decision. Seals-Jones took advantage of his chance, catching two touchdowns but also losing a costly fumble in the fourth quarter. Seals-Jones caught his first touchdown in the third quarter. He got wide open on the left side of the end zone to haul in an easy two-yard score. In the fourth quarter he hauled in a pretty 26-yard pass down the seam but lost a fumble on his way to the ground. It appeared he was close to being down on the play but officials ruled it a lost fumble. Seals-Jones bounced back to catch his second touchdown, this time a one-yard score, on the teamís final drive of the game. He found an open spot in Arizonaís defense and caught the ball for an easy one-yard score.
|QB Kyler Murray, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 25 - 219 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 8 - 56 - 0|
Murray played a clean game in the win over Cleveland outside of a single floating interception in the first half. Murrayís mobility was a key aspect to Arizonaís offense, including gutting the defense with his speed on a read option keeper for 35 yards and later a third-down keeper in the red zone. Murray did not need much through the air, but did log impressive throws to Dan Arnold
in the end zone for his lone score, a rollout strike to Larry Fitzgerald
while rolling left, and a deep comeback to Damiere Byrd
to the far side of the field with ease.
|RB Kenyan Drake, 46 offensive snaps, Rush: 22 - 137 - 4, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets)|
Drake enjoyed a career day against the Browns with four rushing touchdowns. David Johnson
sparsely played with Drake, once again, in the clear lead role of the backfield. Drake was impactful on the opening drive with three chunk gains and capped off the drive with a too-easy goal line touchdown to the perimeter. Drake regularly found holes to the second level or perimeter without having to break a tackle, including a chunk touchdown to ice the game in the mid-fourth quarter. The lone missing piece for Drake was the passing game as he saw just one target, a swing pass on the second play of the game as Arizona did not need much through the air in the home win.
Johnson barely played, yet again, as the clear second option to Kenyan Drake
ís starting status against the Browns. Johnson did have an impressive run among his limited opportunities, beating backfield penetration and turning a loss into a five-yard gain in the first half. Without an injury to Kenyan Drake
, Johnson is looking at a disappointing end to the season after a quality opening six weeks pre-injury.
|WR Christian Kirk, 54 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 28 - 0, Rec: 4 - 33 - 0 (5 targets)|
Kirk had a muted pass-catching day against the Browns with a wide-open slant as his best gain but did add a long end zone defensive pass interference upon review to aid Arizonaís offense. Kirk also contributed nearly 30 yards on an end-around run with great blocking. Touchdowns have eluded Kirk this season with only one game finding the end zone (albeit three times in a career day against Tampa Bay in Week 10) with otherwise tepid numbers.
Fitzgerald was active early against the Browns, logging three receptions on their opening touchdown drive. However, Fitzgerald did not log another catch for the rest of the game as Damiere Byrd
, Christian Kirk
, and Kenyan Drake
were central offensive figures. Fitzgerald had a contested reception ranging above his head as his best catch on an otherwise non-descript day.