EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 27: Jamison Crowder #82 celebrates his touchdown with teammate Ty Johnson #25 of the New York Jets in the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium on December 27, 2020 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Sam Darnold and the New York Jets knocked off a depleted Cleveland Browns team at MetLife Stadium in Week 16.

Robby Sabo
New York Jets, Cleveland Browns
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images
  • New York Jets 23 (2-13)
  • Cleveland Browns 16 (10-5)
  • NFL, Week 16, Final, Box Score
  • MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—The one-win New York Jets disposed of the 10-win Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium Sunday afternoon, 23-16.

Down 20-16 late in the fourth quarter, the Browns had possession of the ball and a chance to win it. But Tarell Basham hit home, forcing a turnover.

The Jets turned it into three points, however. New York couldn’t take advantage of a third-and-short situation. The ensuing kickoff sailed out of bounds, setting up the Brownies down seven with under three minutes to play.

Facing a fourth-and-inches at the Jets’ 16-yard line, Baker Mayfield fumbled on a quarterback sneak. The Jets recovered and ran out the clock to capture their second victory of the season.

Basham forced the final fumble, which added to his incredible day. He finished with a sack, two forced fumbles, three quarterback hits and five tackles.

Cleveland came into the contest depleted, thanks to a positive COVID-19 test that resulted in several of their wide receivers having to hit the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday. It helped result in disaster for the Browns.

Mayfield threw for 285 yards and no touchdowns to no interceptions on 28 of 53 passing. Sam Darnold, on the other hand, wasn’t asked to do much, but he did just enough to lead an efficient offensive attack. The Jet quarterback went for 175 yards and two touchdowns on 16 of 32 passing.

New York put up the first touchdown thanks to a bit of trickery. Jamison Crowder found Braxton Berrios for a 43-yard touchdown on a reverse pass.

The trickery put the Jets in front 7-3, as a Cody Parkey 44-yard field on Cleveland’s second drive opened the scoring.

After the Berrios score, the Jets defense took control of the game. Frankie Luvu beat the right tackle cleanly to force a fumble that was recovered by Folorunso Fatukasi.

Darnold made the Browns pay with a third-down touchdown strike to Chris Herndon.

For Herndon, the score was his second of the disappointing season.

The Browns had a shot to change the momentum prior to halftime but could not get it done. An errand Mayfield pass that would have given them five or six more yards loomed large, as a 61-yard field attempt came up incredibly short.

Up 13-3 (thanks to a blocked Sam Ficken extra point after the Herndon touchdown), the Jets offense didn’t mess around to open the second half. An eight-play, 75-yard drive resulted in a 30-yard touchdown pass to Crowder.

Running the wheel from a bunch look, Cleveland’s defense simply botched it.

After a Browns punt, another Ficken kick was blocked, this time a field goal attempt. That helped the Browns snag their first touchdown of the game, a 1-yard Nick Chubb rushing score.

After the Browns forced a three-and-out, they once again went on a long scoring drive, this time a 12-play, 83-yard drive that resulted in another rushing score. Kareem Hunt took it in from four yards out.

The Jets did pick up two first downs on the ensuing drive but were forced to punt. The next drive featured a Jets defense ready to roll. Instead of playing a softer coverage, Bush had his guys in more pressure looks, ultimately leading to a Cleveland punt, and then ultimately the final key play (Mayfield fumble on the sneak attempt).

For the second-consecutive week, Frank Bush‘s defense played well. The defensive line played extremely well, especially without Quinnen Williams. They held the Browns’ usually solid rushing attack to just 45 yards on 18 carries (2.5 yards per carry).

In addition to Luvu’s strip-sack, John Franklin-Myers and Nathan Shepherd also tallied sacks in the first half.

Chubb went for just 28 yards on 11 carries, while Hunt finished with 11 yards on four attempts. He was forced to play a lot at receiver thanks to the COVID situation entering the game.

Austin Hooper finished with 71 yards on seven receptions, while Ja’Marcus Bradley went for 60 on five grabs.

For the Jets, Frank Gore carried the rock 14 times for 48 yards. Rookie La’Mical Perine, who made his return from IR, carried the ball nine carries for 30 yards.

Crowder, the man who caught and threw touchdowns in this one, finished with a game-high 92 yards on seven snags. Berrios finished with 60 yards on three catches.

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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, developer and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor | Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (sold in 2020). SEO: XLM Email: robby.sabo[at]jetsxfactor.com
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2 years ago

Can’t wait to read your take on rolling with Sam in Year 4 vs. taking Fields/Wilson in the #2 slot…

2 years ago
Reply to  Robby Sabo

When I ask myself what has a better chance of success, Sam being coached by Sean Payton or TL being coached by Gase, I tend to favor Sam. So I guess I’d like to see what Sam really is with a different coach/system before I dump him…

Sean Bird
Sean Bird
2 years ago

We have officially the #2 pick no matter what happens next week. I was impressed with this defense because we are going to have some upgrades in weak spots in the defense, and our d-line has been very good for 2 straight weeks. Q, Foley, and Franklin-Myers are all very good. I hope that we re-sign or extend Basham.