Damarious Randall was right. About everything.
He said the Browns would beat up on a Cincinnati team without its star wide receiver, A.J. Green, and they did. He said the Browns could still make a playoff push at 3-6-1, and while their path to doing so is difficult, they still can. They’re only one game behind the sixth-seeded Ravens in the loss column.
Randall (among many others) also said former Browns coach Hue Jackson wouldn’t give Cincinnati any advantage in Sunday’s game. Whether Jackson did or didn't possess any vital secrets about how to beat the Browns is hard to know. But Sunday’s 35-20 win over the Bengals certainly supports Randall’s claim.
“He ain’t got no secrets,” Randall said. “We’re talented. That's the secret. We’re talented.”
The Browns looked it during Sunday’s win at Paul Brown Stadium, their first road win in more than three years. Baker Mayfield threw for 258 yards and four touchdowns, extending plays when the initial design didn’t yield the right option (he also didn’t turn the ball over and took zero sacks); Nick Chubb accrued 128 yards of offense and two touchdowns on 31 touches, including a seemingly impossible touchdown grab that he pinned against Brandon Wilson’s helmet and pulled into his chest as he hit the ground; and the defense didn’t allow a touchdown until 52 seconds before halftime.
The Browns didn’t just win on the road or for the second time in a row. They did so in convincing fashion. They never lost the lead and the Bengals never got closer than 7-0.
“I just want to credit my team for playing lights out,” Randall said. “Obviously, they saw what I said. The whole entire world saw it.”
Photos: Browns face Cincinnati Bengals
The Cleveland Browns play the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12 at Paul Brown Stadium.
That’s not actually the case for everyone. Myles Garrett said he wasn't aware of Randall’s comments before Sunday’s game. Garrett did, however, see Randall trot toward the Bengals sideline after intercepting Andy Dalton and give his interception ball to Jackson in the second quarter.
“It was a bit savage, but it was funny,” Garrett said. “You got to play with that kind of attitude when you’re on the field.”
The Browns seem to have that attitude now, from their dangerous quarterback to their outspoken defensive back to even the soft-spoken Garrett. Garrett said Friday that he he’s not a trash talker — he said he doesn’t listen when opponents talk, and he certainly doesn’t respond. But he knows the reputation the Browns have around the league, and he thinks it’s about to change.
“(Other teams) can’t think of the old Browns,” Garrett said. “That’s in the past. They get the film, they know that we have potential and players at all spots who can make plays. They know that we can hang with anybody. We can contest anybody.”
Maybe Garrett is right. Maybe tides are shifting; maybe Randall will have more to boast about very soon. But after a week of bold comments, Randall is done talking smack. He is, however, still exceptionally confident in himself and his teammates.
“I’m not about to sit up here and say any other thing crazy,” Randall said. “But the offense is playing lights out right now. They continue to play like that, I don’t think many teams in the NFL can beat us.”