How many teams entered the 2019 season with a worse backup quarterback situation than the New York Jets? I’m sure a lot of people are asking that right now after watching them play against the Cleveland Browns last night. Trevor Siemian may have had prior starting experience, but it was an experience of failure. And then he was injured, replaced by Luke Falk.
The jets managed three points. Against a Browns team that was steamrolled in the second half by the Tennessee Titans a week ago. But they are now the first team in the AFC North outside of the Baltimore Ravens to actually win a game. It’s not often the Pittsburgh Steelers are behind them in the standings, but they are now.
The Ravens stand atop the division at 2-0, having recorded blowouts in their first two games, with the Browns now 1-1. The Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals have both yet to win a game. For the latter, that’s not particularly surprising. But the Steelers very rarely start 0-2, even when they have a tough schedule.
At least for the time being, however, the Browns get to take some criticism off their back after entering the season with so much hype and then falling on their face to start the year. They were far from flawless last night against the Jets, but they won, and they did some good things in the process.
Particularly Odell Beckham, Jr. He caught six passes for 161 yards, including an 89-yard touchdown, one of two touchdowns in the game for either side, the other being a 19-yard run by second-year running back Nick Chubb.
Baker Mayfield looked much better than he did a week ago, though still not an MVP candidate, completing 19 of 35 attempts for 325 yards, with one touchdown and an interception. And Pro Bowl edge rusher Myles Garrett racked up three sacks on the night, the other of four the Browns recording having come from…Morgan Burnett.
As a bonus to Steelers fans, Le’Veon Bell lost a fumble on a night on which he recorded 31 total touches without scoring. He gained 68 yards on the ground on 21 rushing attempts and added another 61 yards on 10 receptions. It’s starting to remind me of the Mike Vick offense before Bell tore his ACL, a high-volume, low-efficiency fare—except he was scoring.