EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey -- Odell Beckham Jr. hit the jets Monday night, and the Browns ran away with their first victory of the 2019 season.
Beckham’s 89-yard catch-and-sprint touchdown put a big exclamation point on Cleveland’s 23-3 victory over the Jets. It marks the first win for Freddie Kitchens as the Browns’ head coach and served as quite the pick-me-up after a disappointing season opener.
Beckham was on the receiving end of the Browns’ two biggest plays of the night to finish with 161 yards on six receptions. Baker Mayfield threw for 325 yards and the touchdown pass to Beckham, which helped Cleveland’s offense break out of a bit of a funk against a stingy Jets defense.
Beckham’s touchdown catch, which came with 3:32 to play in the third quarter, was the fourth-longest passing play in Browns history and longest since 2013.
The Browns’ defense, meanwhile, was even stingier against a Jets offense that entered the game without their starting quarterback and finished with their third-string, former practice squad signal-caller under center.
Cleveland limited the Jets to 45 yards of offense in the first half (a net minus-13 through the air) and 251 for the game. Myles Garrett collected three of the Browns’ four sacks to give him five for the season. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Garrett is the first player to begin a season with five sacks in two games since Clay Matthews in 2012.
The Jets threatened for touchdowns twice in the second half, but the Browns shut the door both times. Midway through the third quarter, Cleveland forced a turnover on downs when the Jets came up short on fourth-and-2 at the Browns’ 12. Linebacker Joe Schobert forced a fumble as Le’Veon Bell crossed the 5-yard line on a reception midway through the fourth quarter.
Check out photos of the Browns against the Jets on Monday Night Football
It wasn’t always pretty, but the Browns steadily built a lead throughout the first half with just enough offense and solid kicking from rookie Austin Seibert.
Cleveland picked up back-to-back field goals on its first two drives to take a quick 6-0 lead. Beckham’s one-handed, 33-yard catch near the sidelines highlighted an opening drive that sputtered out inside the 5-yard line.
The Browns’ advantage grew to 13 after a five-play scoring drive that was punctuated by Nick Chubb’s first touchdown of the season, a 19-yarder with 10:16 to play in the second quarter that directly followed a successful fourth-down conversion.
Already struggling and dealing with injuries coming into the game, the Jets offense took a big blow midway through the second quarter when backup quarterback Trevor Simiean, starting in place of an ill Sam Darnold, suffered an ankle injury. Luke Falk, who was called up from the practice squad earlier this week, made his NFL debut on the next snap and led a run-heavy drive down the field for the Jets’ only points of the half, a 46-yard Sam Ficken field goal.
A 25-yard Mayfield throw to Jarvis Landry on third-and-20 with just 20 seconds remaining in the half set up Seibert’s third field goal, a 43-yarder as time expired.
The Browns are back in primetime Sunday when they host the Los Angeles Rams for Sunday Night Football at FirstEnergy Stadium.