Baker Mayfield overcame a terrible start to throw for five touchdowns, including a 24-yard go-ahead score to Donovan Peoples-Jones with 15 seconds left, and the Cleveland Browns outdueled the Cincinnati Bengals 37-34 on Sunday.
Nursing sore ribs, Mayfield started 0 for 5 — including an interception on his first attempt of the game. He then completed the next 22 of 23 passes. The last was the leaping grab by People-Jones to win it for the Browns (5-2).
Cincinnati rookie Joe Burrow played another terrific game, but again it wasn’t enough. He hit 35 of 47 passes for a season-high 406 yards and three touchdowns, including a 3-yard scoring pass to Giovani Bernard on fourth-and-1 to give the Bengals a 34-31 lead with 1:06 left.
But the Bengals’ defense couldn’t stop Mayfield, who was roundly criticized after a poor performance in Cleveland’s loss to Pittsburgh last week, and Browns receivers who made some great catches as they worked down the field.
Mayfield was 22 for 28 for 297 yards. Rashard Higgins had six catches for 110 yards, and tight end Harrison Bryant had two touchdown catches.
With running back Joe Mixon out with an injured foot, the Bengals relied on Burrow, who has thrown for more than 300 yards in five of the seven games of his rookie year. Cincinnati managed only 81 yards on the ground, and that included 34 from Burrow.
Tyler Boyd had 11 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown for the Bengals (1-5-1)
A FEW MORE PEOPLE
This was the first game the Bengals were permitted by the state of Ohio to have a slightly larger crowd. The reported attendance was 9,732 with fans spread out through all the decks of Paul Brown Stadium with plenty of social distancing.
The Bengals had lost Mixon (foot) and cornerback William Jackson III (concussion) to injuries during the week. Their offensive line took another blow when they lost two starters to injuries in Sunday’s game: OT Jonah Williams (neck) and C Trey Hopkins (concussion) in the second quarter.
Browns: WR Odell Beckham Jr. hurt his knee in the first quarter and did not return. The team said he will have an MRI on Monday.
Browns: host the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.
Bengals: host the AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans on Sunday.