Cleveland Browns vs. Denver Broncos

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DEN
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Baker Mayfield threw for two touchdowns and 188 yards as the Cleveland Browns held on to beat the Denver Broncos 17-16.

1:13 | December 16, 2018 | Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Football, NFL

Game Information
Location: Broncos Stadium at Mile High Denver, Colorado
Attendance: 76,596

DENVER (AP) Whether it was "The Fumble" or "The Drive" in the playoffs in the 1980s or the 11 consecutive times Denver had dumped Cleveland, the Broncos always served as the Browns' biggest bugaboo.

With John Elway watching from his suite at Mile High Stadium, Baker Mayfield capitalized on Denver's depleted cornerback corps and dubious coaching decisions in leading the Browns past the Broncos 17-16 on Saturday night.

Mayfield's 2-yard TD toss to Antonio Callaway with just under 12 minutes left provided the winning margin for the Browns (6-7-1), who kept alive their slim hopes of ending the NFL's longest playoff drought.

The Browns still have a shot at their first winning season since 2007 and even their first playoff berth since 2002 thanks to their first win over Denver (6-8) since 1990.

"I think the tough environment, winning on the road's the most important thing," Mayfield said. "If we don't take care of business tonight - and obviously we have to move on and take care of business next week - none of that matters.

"So, being able to win on the road is something we've got to take pride in."

Combined with their win at Cincinnati last month, the Browns have multiple road victories for the first time since 2014.

Callaway's touchdown made it 17-13 and came with safety Justin Simmons in coverage because the Broncos were down five cornerbacks.

The Broncos responded with a 13-play drive that ate up more than seven minutes, but after Phillip Lindsay was stuffed for no gain on third-and-1 from the Cleveland 6, Broncos coach Vance Joseph sent in kicker Brandon McManus for a field goal instead of going for it on fourth down.

Jabrill Peppers, for one, was surprised the Broncos didn't try for the first down or the end zone.

"Absolutely. Absolutely. But, hey, it worked out in our favor," Peppers said. "We'd been stopping them all day and they didn't want to come away with nothing."

Exactly.

"I wanted points there," Joseph explained. "We had about 4:35 left. We had one timeout and the 2-minute warning. I trust our defense to get a stop there."

It didn't happen, at least not right away.

Nick Chubb reeled off a 40-yard run on the first play.

"We can't let that happen," Von Miller said.

But the Broncos came up with a big stop on fourth-and-1 from the Denver 10 when Cleveland interim coach Gregg Williams went for it - and Chubb was dropped for a 2-yard loss by Adam Gotsis.

"We came up here to win a ballgame," Williams said. "I don't think anybody's worried about me not being aggressive and we came up here to win it. Offensively we were going to win it right there. If not, defensively we're going to come back and do it. Pretty similar going all-out blitz the last several plays. That's the aggressive nature of the team."

The Broncos got the ball back at their 13 with 1:49 remaining and reached the 50-yard line with 52 seconds left. But a spike, two incompletions and a sack by defensive back Peppers of Case Keenum all but ended Denver's playoff hopes.

Keenum said he wanted the Broncos to go for it on fourth down at the Cleveland 6 but added that ultimately, Joseph's decision worked out, despite the loss.

"I can't complain," Keenum said, "because I've got the ball back in my hands with a chance to win the game. So, that's all I can ask for."

The Broncos began the night with cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Isaac Yiadom sidelined and they lost Brendan Langley to a concussion in the first half and newly signed Jamar Taylor to an ejection in the second half on the same play Bradley Roby went out with a laceration in his mouth. Roby later returned.

With safety Dymonte Thomas, who had his first career interception in the first half, subbing at cornerback, Miller broke Simon Fletcher's franchise record of 103½ sacks, including playoffs.

Denver's depleted defense, however, was forced right back out onto the field when Keenum's first-down heave was easily picked off by T.J. Carrie at the Broncos 48, after just eight seconds had ticked off the game clock.

"I didn't see the corner," Keenum acknowledged. "And it's not an excuse. But it's ultimately what lost us the football game because they went out and scored right after that."

Six plays later, Mayfield put the Browns ahead for good.

INJURIES

Langley went out in the first half and Roby in the second. Combined with Taylor's ejection - he was signed after Harris fractured his right fibula two weeks ago - and the Broncos were left scrambling in their secondary.

UP NEXT

Browns: Host Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 23.

Broncos: Visit Oakland Raiders on Christmas Eve.

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1st Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Browns Broncos
11:49 Breshad Perriman 31 yd pass from Baker Mayfield (Greg Joseph kick) 7 0
03:18 Case Keenum 1 yd run (Brandon McManus kick) 7 7

2nd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Browns Broncos
08:16 Brandon McManus 44 yd FG 7 10
04:53 Greg Joseph 40 yd FG 10 10

3rd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Browns Broncos
01:41 Brandon McManus 42 yd FG 10 13

4th Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail Browns Broncos
11:44 Antonio Callaway 2 yd pass from Baker Mayfield (Greg Joseph kick) 17 13
04:35 Brandon McManus 29 yd FG 17 16

Team Stats
  Cleveland Denver
1st Downs 21 22
Total Yards 309 270
Passing 175 238
Passing Completions/Attempts 18-31 31-48
Yards/Pass 5.3 4.8
Rushing 134 32
Rushing Attempts 28 20
Yards/Rush 4.8 1.6
Turnovers 2 2
Fumbles Lost 1 0
Interceptions Thrown 1 2
Possession 27:21 32:39

Cleveland Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Baker Mayfield 18 31 188 6.1 2 1

Denver Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Case Keenum 31 48 257 5.3 0 2

Cleveland Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Nick Chubb 20 100 5.0 0 40
Duke Johnson Jr. 4 28 7.0 0 15
Baker Mayfield 4 6 1.5 0 9

Denver Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Phillip Lindsay 14 24 1.7 0 11
Royce Freeman 4 7 1.8 0 6
Case Keenum 2 1 0.5 1 1

Cleveland Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Jarvis Landry 3 37 12.3 0 19
Antonio Callaway 5 35 7.0 1 12
Breshad Perriman 1 31 31.0 1 31
David Njoku 3 30 10.0 0 20
Rashard Higgins 2 30 15.0 0 19
Duke Johnson Jr. 4 25 6.2 0 10
Nick Chubb 0 0 0.0 0

Denver Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Tim Patrick 5 65 13.0 0 24
DaeSean Hamilton 7 46 6.6 0 14
Matt LaCosse 4 43 10.8 0 14
Courtland Sutton 5 42 8.4 0 13
Phillip Lindsay 4 20 5.0 0 16
Brian Parker 2 18 9.0 0 11
Devontae Booker 2 17 8.5 0 15
Andre Holmes 1 5 5.0 0 5
Royce Freeman 1 1 1.0 0 1

Cleveland Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Jabrill Peppers 6 0 1 11
Jamie Collins Sr. 6 0 1 8
Terrance Mitchell 6 0 0 0
Genard Avery 4 0 0 0
Briean Boddy-Calhoun 4 1 0 0
Joe Schobert 4 3 0 0
T.J. Carrie 3 0 0 0
Larry Ogunjobi 3 0 0 0
Trevon Coley 2 2 0 0
Emmanuel Ogbah 2 0 0 0
Myles Garrett 1 0 0 0
Derrick Kindred 1 0 0 0
Brian Price 1 0 0 0
Damarious Randall 1 1 0 0
Chris Smith 1 0 0 0
Anthony Zettel 1 1 0 0
Ray-Ray Armstrong 0 0 0 0
Jarvis Landry 0 0 0 0
Tavierre Thomas 0 0 0 0
JC Tretter 0 0 0 0
Tanner Vallejo 0 1 0 0

Denver Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Adam Gotsis 5 1 1 4
Bradley Roby 4 1 0 0
Justin Simmons 4 3 0 0
Will Parks 3 1 0 0
Bradley Chubb 2 2 0 0
Shelby Harris 2 0 0 0
Darian Stewart 2 3 0 0
Von Miller 1 1 1 9
Tramaine Brock 1 0 0 0
Todd Davis 1 3 0 0
Jeff Holland 1 1 0 0
Josey Jewell 1 3 0 0
Zach Kerr 1 1 0 0
Brandon Marshall 1 3 0 0
Domata Peko 1 3 0 0
Dymonte Thomas 1 1 0 0
River Cracraft 0 0 0 0
DaeSean Hamilton 0 0 0 0
Andy Janovich 0 0 0 0
Joseph Jones 0 0 0 0
Derek Wolfe 0 1 0 0

Cleveland Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
T.J. Carrie 1 0 0
Jabrill Peppers 1 0 0

Denver Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Dymonte Thomas 1 0 0

Cleveland Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Dontrell Hilliard 1 31 31.0 0 31
Jabrill Peppers 1 17 17.0 0 17

Denver Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Devontae Booker 1 35 35.0 0 35

Cleveland Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Jabrill Peppers 2 9 4.5 0 8

Denver Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
River Cracraft 2 0 0.0 0 0

Cleveland Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Greg Joseph 1 1 100.0 40

Denver Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Brandon McManus 3 3 100.0 44

Cleveland Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Britton Colquitt 4 194 56

Denver Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Colby Wadman 3 124 46