CLEVELAND (AP) – Case Keenum scored his second win, replacing Baker Mayfield on Sunday as the Cleveland Browns ended their dismal season with a 21-16 win over the playoff-tied Cincinnati Bengals, who left the quarterback- back Joe Burrow at home and played their saves.
Keenum threw touchdown passes to Jarvis Landry and Demetric Felton as the Browns (8-9) completed a surprising sweep of the AFC North champions. Ernest Johnson ran for 123 yards, and star running back Nick Chubb had just nine carries and finished the season with 1,259 yards.
Keenum, who replaced Mayfield and beat Denver earlier this season, joined Landry on a scoring 26-yard pass in the first quarter. He then gave a pass to Felton, who made his way to the end zone to bring the score to 21-10.
Meanwhile, the Bengals played their “B” team. Burrow stayed in Cincinnati to seek treatment for a painful right knee. So he’s ready to play next week when the Bengals (10-7), who have gone from last place to first in the division, organize a postseason game.
Burrow said he would have played if there had been more on the line, but Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor wasn’t taking any chances and started Brandon Allen, who threw a 4-yard pass to Chris Evans with 2 : 26 to play.
The Bengals also sat wide receiver Tee Higgins, and running back Joe Mixon was out after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week.
Bengals star rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase has only played two series and caught two passes for 26 yards.
The Bengals’ first six possessions ended in a punt, and they scored their only touchdown when reserve linebacker Trayvon Henderson recovered a fumble from Keenum and ran for 29 yards in the second quarter.
Mayfield has spent the day watching from the sidelines, his injury-plagued year ending Monday when he was sacked nine times in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 26-year-old, who played for months with a torn labrum in his left shoulder that won’t throw, is due to have shoulder surgery on January 19. Unless their plans change, the Browns expect Mayfield to return as a starter in 2022 as he is under contract after the team landed their fifth-year contract at 18.9million. dollars. He had his exit interview with coach Kevin Stefanski on Friday.
That doesn’t mean Cleveland won’t be looking for an option other than Mayfield, who is eligible for a long-term extension.
Chase had an undeniable impact on the pitch. This put him in the record books.
With a 24-yard reception in the first quarter, Chase surpassed Chad Johnson’s team record (1,440) for most yards received in a single season.
He finished 18 yards off the NFL single-season rookie record held by Houston’s Bill Groman (1,473 in 1960).
Browns DE Jadeveon Clowney finished with a flurry, registering two sacks and forcing a fumble. He’s set to re-sign with Cleveland after getting nine sacks – his most since 2018.
Bengals: Substitute Ricardo Allen suffered a concussion from a helmet-to-helmet hit. … CB Vernon Hargreaves III (ankle) was blown away, came back and got out. … Reserve DT Josh Topu (knee) came out in the third. … K Evan McPherson (groin) was inactive. Elliott Fry was high on the practice team and had a field goal for 36 yards.
Browns: LB rookie Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (leg) did not return after injuring himself in the third quarter. …. WR Rashard Higgins (illness) was active, but did not play. … DT Jordan Elliott (right knee) was injured in the fourth quarter.
Bengals: A first-round playoff game and another attempt to win their first playoff game since 1990.
Browns: A deep dive into everything that went wrong during one of the franchise’s most upsetting seasons.