Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) raises the ball as he scores a touchdown while being tackled by Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Christian Kirksey (58) during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium.

© Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Duke Johnson Jr. scores 2 TDs, injuries pile up in Browns 37-21 loss to Chiefs

Cleveland kids Travis Kelce and Kareem Hunt score 5 TDs in win

November 5, 2018

Daryl Ruiter-Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – There wasn’t much that Gregg Williams could do to avoid what happened Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium, unless it included putting his team in bubble wrap or forfeiting.

Kansas City put on an offensive display as they scored touchdowns on five of their first six possessions and rolled to 37-21 victory to improve to 8-1 on the season.

As for the Browns, they’re now 2-6-1 and with an interim coach in place, the season has circled the drain and it’s all downhill from here.

“We just have to be better,” rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, who suffered his fifth loss as the Browns starting quarterback, said.

Mayfield completed 29 of 42 passes for 297 yards with two touchdowns and an interception as he and the rest of the Browns got a preview of what general manager John Dorsey will try to build here after helping build the Chiefs juggernaut that took it to them.

“I think that we do is perfectly fine. We just have to be better at it,” Mayfield said. “They have guys who are making their plays. Their quarterback is putting it in the right spot. He is giving them a chance to win. We just have to be better. We are not going to abandon ship with what we are doing and try to do the Chiefs offense. We just have to trust our guys, trust our playmakers and do our job.”

Defensively, the Browns were decimated by injuries.

Linebacker Joe Schobert and safety Damarious Randall were already out and inactive, then cornerbacks Denzel Ward left in the first quarter with a hip injury which followed E.J. Gaines’ departure due to a concussion. Adding insult to injury, linebacker Christian Kirksey was lost in the second half to a hamstring injury.

“Next man up. Can never make an excuse of that, but I did have to change conceptually to what our guys that went in there could do and could understand,” Williams said. “We still have to make plays. We have to tackle better, have to keep the ball in front of us better and have to keep on playing. Those guys did. They never blinked.”

With Hue Jackson and Todd Haley out of the way, new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens discovered how to use running back Duke Johnson Jr., who caught nine passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. He ran once for eight.

“I loved it. We need to get him the ball even more,” receiver Jarvis Landry, who finished with six catches for 50 yards, said. “I know Freddie did a good job of obviously trying to get him the ball as much as we can, and that is what this offense has to be.”

Even down 16 points in the fourth quarter, the Browns still ran the ball.

Nick Chubb finished with 85 yards on 22 carries and a three-yard TD run to pull the Browns within 14-9 midway through the second quarter.

“I think that the more carries that you get him, the more that he gets going,” Mayfield said. “He is a physical runner. Very rarely is it one person that brings him down. He just keeps those legs churning and gets the extra yards that make a difference.”

As for Williams’ Browns head coaching debut, he was aggressive all afternoon.

The Browns went for it four times on fourth down near midfield and the Browns picked up three of them – the third aided by an offsides penalty, but the first two thanks to Nick Chubb. He also went for two after every touchdown.

“The big thing was to be aggressive and to play aggressively,” Williams said. “Our guys responded in that way. We have to play better in some situations, but we played aggressively.”

The conversion attempts failed thanks to an interception in the end zone, Landry was stopped short on a swing pass and Mayfield was sacked.

“It is a real positive thing to have those opportunities,” Landry said. “We have to find a way to convert all of them.”

Mayfield, who was also checked for a concussion and cleared late in the third quarter, completed 29 of 42 passes for 297 yards with two touchdowns and an interception late in the fourth quarter that sealed the game.

The Chiefs put on a clinic offensively.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw for 375 yards completing 23 of 32 passes with three touchdowns and an interception that came as time expired at halftime by Browns corner Denzel Rice.

Willoughby South’s Kareem Hunt ran 17 times for 91 yards and scored two touchdowns and caught a 50-yard TD as well.

Hunt’s third touchdown – from 10 yards out – was set up thanks to another special teams breakdown that saw Britton Colquitt’s punt get blocked and give Kansas City the ball at the 21.

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, a Cleveland Heights high school product, had seven catches for 99 yards and two scores.

“They’re good players,” defensive end Myles Garrett said. “It doesn’t matter where you are from, you can be good from any state.  They just went out there and did what they’ve done all season - make plays when they need to be made.”