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Mayfield throws 2 TD passes, Browns hold off Burrow, Bengals

Thu Sep 17 11:54pm ET
By TOM WITHERS
AP Sports Writer

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb rushes for a 1-yard touchdown during the second half of the team' NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


Cincinnati Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah (87) celebrates with teammates after touchdown during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow throws a 23-yard touchdown pass to tight end C.J. Uzomah during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


Cleveland Browns fans watch during the first half of an NFL football game between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb rushes for an 11-yard touchdown during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)


Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow throws a pass during the first half of the team's NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


The Cleveland Browns line up arm-in-arm before an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)


CLEVELAND (AP) Baker Mayfield threw two touchdown passes, Nick Chubb ran for two scores and 124 yards and the Cleveland Browns gave coach Kevin Stefanski his first NFL victory Thursday night by beating the Cincinnati Bengals 35-30 on the NFL's 100th birthday.

Mayfield connected with Odell Beckham Jr. on a 43-yard scoring pass in the first half, and the Browns (1-1) rebounded from an atrocious performance last week in Baltimore, where they were roughed up 38-6 by the Ravens and looked mostly inept in Stefanski's debut.

Things went much more smoothly against the Bengals (0-2) and No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, who threw three TD passes and showed incredible poise in just his second game.

Burrow's third TD pass - a 9-yarder to Tyler Boyd with 43 seconds left - pulled the Bengals within five, but the Browns recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.

Mayfield made it a priority to get the ball early to Beckham, who had only three catches for 22 yards in the opener. Beckham finished with four catches for 74 yards.

Mayfield completed 16 of 23 passes for 219 yards and one interception.

Kareem Hunt had a TD catch, ran for a score and rushed for 86 yards for Cleveland.

Burrow finished 37 of 61 for 316 yards. He was sacked three times, and had an unfortunate moment when he tried to call timeout and had the ball snapped past him. But the reigning Heisman Trophy winner matched Mayfield pass for pass and showed why the Bengals believe he can turn them around.

Fittingly, the matchup between Ohio's teams came as the NFL officially turned a century old. It was on Sept. 17, 1920, when an agreement during a meeting in Canton laid the groundwork for what became a multi-billion dollar business and America's most popular sport.

There were 6,000 fans inside 68,000-seat FirstEnergy Stadium for Cleveland's home opener after the Browns were granted a variance by the state of Ohio to have a gathering larger COVID-19 regulations allow.

Fans stayed socially distanced, masked for the most part and brought needed energy after both teams played in empty stadiums in Baltimore and Cincinnati a week ago. Some of the loudest cheers came after Beckham's TD.

Mayfield's scoring strike to Beckham in the second quarter was the kind of play the Browns envisioned the pair making more often.

After faking a handoff, Mayfield rolled left to buy time before lofting a perfect throw down the sideline to Beckham, who beat Bengals cornerback William Jackson III to give the Browns a 14-3 lead.

Burrow kept the Bengals in it with a 23-yard TD to C.J. Uzomah in the second quarter, but Cincinnati's defense couldn't slow down the Browns and Mayfield tossed a 6-yard TD pass to a wide-open Hunt gave Cleveland a 21-10 lead.

The Browns pushed it to 28-13 in the third quarter on Chubb's second TD run, which came after Myles Garrett stripped Burrow near the goal line and Cleveland recovered.

100 CANDLES

The NFL traces its beginnings to a meeting in Canton, Ohio on Sept. 17, 1920. Commissioner Roger Goodell offered a toast to the league's big birthday.

''To the more than 25,000 players who've ever played in this league: Your talent and tenacity are forever etched in our memories,'' he said. ''To the players of today: From the superstars adding to their legacies, to the dynamic young players blazing new trails - you are the backbone of the NFL. To the most loyal and passionate fans anywhere: The NFL would be nothing without you. ''

STREAK STOPPED

Due to the coronavirus, Bengals owner and president Mike Brown didn't travel and missed his first regular-season game since 1968.

The 85-year-old Brown told the team's website that not going was ''wrenching.''

Brown had attended 824 consecutive games. The only one he had missed previously was in 1991, when he skipped a preseason game to be with his dying father, coaching great Paul Brown.

INJURIES:

Bengals: Uzomah was carted off with a right Achilles tendon injury after making a catch in the fourth.

Browns: DE Adrian Clayborn went out with a hip in injury in the second quarter. He sacked Burrow before going out.

UP NEXT

Bengals: Visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 27.

Browns: Host the Washington Football Team on Sept. 27. Cleveland leads the series 33-12-1.

Player Notes
Deebo Samuel Oct 25 7:00pm ET

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Kareem Hunt Oct 25 7:00pm ET

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Jeff Wilson Oct 25 6:50pm ET

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Baker Mayfield Oct 25 6:50pm ET

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Deonte Harris Oct 25 6:40pm ET

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Phillip Lindsay Oct 25 6:30pm ET

Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay (head) will not return to Sunday's matchup against the Chiefs. On a snowy, sloppy day in the Mile-High City, the 26-year-old suffered a concussion shortly before the end of the first half. Before his departure, he had nine attempts for 79 yards. Melvin Gordon, who also has nine carries, will likely serve as the featured back for the remainder of the contest. With more news to come, possibly sometime on Monday, fantasy managers will want to monitor this situation ahead of Denver's Week 8 against the Chargers.

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Cole Holcomb Oct 25 6:10pm ET

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A.J. Green Oct 25 6:10pm ET

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The Dallas Cowboys Defense didn't fare well in Week 7 despite being matched up against a Washington Football Team that was allowing the third most fantasy points to opposing fantasy defenses. The Cowboys defense allowed 23 points, recording two sacks but no turnovers. The Cowboys will take on the Eagles in the battle of bad NFC East defenses next week, where they will not be a recommended fantasy option.

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