The Cleveland Browns are having their best season in quite some time—in spite of the fact that they are squarely in third place in third own division—recording a victory yesterday over the Cincinnati Bengals, who seem to keep coming close to victory before just having it snatched away, much like the Browns are actually used to.
But that victory may have come with a cost. Wide receiver Odell Beckham left the game early with a knee injury, and he was ruled out a short time later. As of this writing, he is schedule to undergo an MRI today to determine the severity of the injury.
According to Adam Schefter, the team does not have a definitive diagnosis about the extent of the injury yet, quoting one source as saying that it’s “sometimes hard to know for sure. Obviously hope we dodge a bullet”.
Considering the fact that Beckham is a critical cog in their offensive machine and that their defense, despite being able to bring pressure and record sacks, is still giving up more than 30 points per game, that could be a big blow for the Browns, even with the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL.
Earlier in the evening, Ian Rapoport reported that that Beckham “is feared to have suffered a major injury”. While he noted that a morning MRI could potentially reveal better news, he said that “early indications aren’t good”.
Entering yesterday’s game, Beckham and Jarvis Landry were tied for the team lead with 319 receiving yards. Beckham got his on 23 receptions, Landry on 24. But the former also had three receiving touchdowns (tied with Kareem Hunt for the most), while Landry had yet to find the end zone (though he did throw a touchdown to Beckham).
Beckham was only targeted one time during Sunday’s game and did not catch a pass. It was on Baker Mayfield’s fifth pass attempt of the game, his fifth consecutive incompletion, and the wide receiver awkwardly jumped upon the interceptor to attempt to bring him down, injuring himself in this fashion.
Mayfield went 22-for-23 after that, with his one incompletion being a spike, for 297 yards with five touchdown passes, including two to rookie tight end Harrison Bryant. It was the first five-touchdown game of his career and just his second with at least four touchdown passes, his first since week 11 of his rookie season.
But how well can that get along if Beckham misses extended time, or potentially is even out for the season? Mayfield put up good numbers without him yesterday, but that was against the Bengals, who…are not great.