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Game Day

Jarvis Landry makes dual-threat impact on Browns' win over Panthers

Jarvis Landry doesn't have to say all the right things anymore. 

After Sunday, he won't be asked questions about his lack of offensive involvement. He won't only be happy because the Browns won. 

Landry's worn a brave face in recent weeks. He amassed season-low target totals in the Browns' first two wins of the Gregg Williams Era, and the Browns got thumped by the Texans in Landry's first 100-yard game since Week 3.

But on Sunday against Carolina, the Browns didn't just win; they won because of Landry. He ran for, caught and nearly threw a touchdown Sunday. So when he stepped to the podium after the 26-20 victory — the first time he'd done so since Week 3 against the Jets — he didn't have to say the right thing. When you accrue more than 100 yards and two touchdowns, everything you say is right. 

"I guess waking up feeling dangerous is contagious," Landry said of his versatile performance. "(It feels good) just to have the ball in my hands, period." 

Offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens found a multitude of methods to get the ball in Landry's hands against the Panthers. The first was on a modified handoff, a fake jet sweep followed by a real one. Breshad Perriman acted as the decoy before Landry swooped across the line of scrimmage and ran untouched into the end zone, throwing the ball into the stands to celebrate. 

Then Kitchens deployed the more traditional method — the good ole pitch and catch. Landry caught three passes for 57 yards, but his 51-yard touchdown catch was the most impressive play of the day. 

Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield stepped up in the pocket upon feeling a rush from his left, rolled left, set his feet and unleashed a bomb to Landry, who caught the pass over two defenders in the end zone. Then Landry and his teammates gathered around the ball to warm their hands as if they were at a bonfire.

"That's why he's here, to make those plays," Mayfield said. "Unbelievable catch." 

"I was like, 'How the hell'd he catch that?"' Rashard Higgins added. "That surprised me." 

Landry's most impressive play wasn't his most impactful, though. Trailing by three in the fourth quarter, Kitchens again turned to Landry, the running back, on third-and-2. Again, Mayfield faked to Perriman, and again, Landry burst through the line of scrimmage. This time, he had more room to run, and he out-juked two Panthers defensive backs en route to a 51-yard run. 

Landry became the first Browns player since Leroy Hoard in 1991 to have a rush and reception go for more than 50 yards.

Landry's run set up Nick Chubb's go-ahead touchdown, making up for the missed connection between the two in the first half. Landry caught a backward pass from Mayfield and threw an incomplete deep pass to Chubb instead of checking down to an open Mayfield.

"I peeked him," Landry said of Mayfield, "But I wanted the touchdown." 

Landry's been the consummate leader — causing zero stir despite a relative lack of involvement in the offense, prioritizing team success over his own. 

On Sunday, Landry swung the game enough to force Kitchens to consider featuring his highest-paid weapon more often. Then again, the Browns won't be able to surprise defenses with modified jet sweeps anymore. Landry might not be able to showcase the full range of his talents every week. 

"It worked today," he said, "and that's all that matters."