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Cleveland Rocked: Flacco’s Three TDs Drop NY Jets, 37-20

Trevor Siemian, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns
Trevor Siemian, New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, Getty Images

Dubious history awaited the New York Jets on Thursday night in Cleveland

This was supposed to be the year that one of the most downtrodden franchises in football finally flipped their fortunes thanks in part to an aging, Super Bowl MVP-winning quarterback working with a new team.

That prophecy came to life on Thursday — but not in the way New York Jets fans were hoping.

Joe Flacco’s rebirth tour with the Cleveland Browns continued to the tune of three passing scores, which built an early first-half lead that buried the Jets in a 37-20 final at Cleveland Browns Stadium. With the win, Cleveland (11-5) clinched just its third playoff berth of the new century and kept itself in contention for the AFC North crown.

The latest battle between the star-crossed squads began with a bang: the first three drives of the game were 75-yard treks to the end zone, ones that granted the Browns a 13-7 lead. Jerome Ford caught Flacco’s first scoring pass of the day while Kareem Hunt punched one in on the ground, both coming from seven yards away. Those touchdowns sandwiched an aerial score for Breece Hall, who put it in from 21 away on a pass from Trevor Siemian.

But the Jets’ attempt to counter shifted the game to Cleveland’s corner permanently: a Siemian pass was intercepted by Ronnie Hickman and taken back 30 yards for a score, putting the Jets down 20-7 before the first 15 minutes let out.

The Browns made things personal when they took a three-possession game in the second half, as Flacco found his fellow ex-Jet Elijah Moore for an eight-yard tally. It was one of Moore’s final acts of the night before he was forced to leave due to a concussion.

The Jets (6-10) briefly made it a ball game again when Jermaine Johnson stifled another Cleveland scoring drive by tipping Flacco’s throw and running it back 37 yards for six-point glory. Alas, the Browns had one more lengthy drive in store before the half let out, as Flacco and Ford once again collaborated for six, this one going 50 yards to re-establish the 20-point lead.

From there, the Jets were only able to muster two Greg Zuerlein field goals, while a third attempt was blocked by Shelby Harris. Riley Patterson added one late after a New York turnover on downs to create the final margin.

Whereas the Browns’ antics created jubilation in the Dawg Pound, the Jets’ futility once again takes center stage: Thursday clinched the fourth consecutive 10-loss season, the first such streak in franchise history.

The Jets’ 2023-24 mercifully ends next Sunday when they face the equally woebegone New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on X @GeoffJMags

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Jim G
5 months ago

This was a truly pathetic performance. Another “Just End The Season” type of season.