Swirling winds, chilly temperatures and periodic bursts of snow neutralized two of the NFL's highest-scoring offenses Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The Raiders had just a little more firepower and execution than the Browns, especially on third downs, and that was the difference in the game.
In a game of ground-and-pound, ball-control offense, the Raiders won the day by dominating possession and moving the chains. The Raiders broke a fourth-quarter tie with a touchdown and a field goal to put the Browns away, 16-6.
"We did not do enough of the things that you have to do in those conditions to go win, and I do not think anyone can use that as an excuse," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. "They found a way to put 16 points up on the board, and we did not. Credit to them. Disappointed with the loss. We will try to learn from it and get better for our next game."
The loss dropped the Browns to 5-3 heading into the bye. The Raiders moved to 4-3 with the win.
"Not anywhere close to where we want to be. We have a 5-3 record. It should be a lot better. We believe that," Browns QB Baker Mayfield said. "That is why our locker room is pissed off. We believe in this locker room, and we are going to continue to get better and hopefully going on a streak right after this bye week, like I said, be healthy and focus on getting better. We know what we can improve, and after we watch this film, we will do that even more so."
The Raiders absolutely dominated time of possession over the final three quarters and converted eight third downs and two fourth downs. They finished the game with a 37:43-22:17 advantage and ran 24 more offensive plays than the Browns, who were playing their first game without WR Odell Beckham Jr. and were without Pro Bowl DE Myles Garrett for large chunks of the game as he battled through a knee injury.
Garrett, who played through the injury, will undergo an MRI on Monday.
"We pride ourselves on the next man up mentality, but like we said about Odell, it is not a one-man job to fill his shoes," Mayfield said. "That is a guy that we love having here and love having on this team. The bye week is coming at a good time for us. Hopefully, it is nothing too serious and he can come back and continue to help us in a huge way like he has been."
Derek Carr's 4-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Renfrow early in the fourth quarter, which survived a lengthy replay review, gave the Raiders a lead they would not relinquish. Trailing 13-6, the Browns were forced to punt on the following drive, and the Raiders responded with a 13-play, 74-yard drive that took nearly 9 minutes off the clock and ended with a short field goal.
Cleveland's last shot at a comeback ended with a stop on third down and a missed field goal, which would have sliced the deficit to a single score.
"Time of possession is a great team stat. Offensively, you have to possess it by sustaining drives, making first downs on the third down or finding ways to just get first downs. Obviously, we did not do that on offense," Stefanski said. "Defensively, I do not know the exact numbers, but they were much better than us on third down and the sustained drives."
Mayfield completed 12-of-25 passes for 122 yards. Kareem Hunt rushed 14 times for 66 yards, and Jarvis Landry led all Browns receivers with four catches for 52 yards. Landry's 25-yard catch with 3:50 to play was the first and only play by either team to go for 20 or more yards.
Carr was 15-of-24 for 112 yards and a touchdown. Josh Jacobs and Devontae Booker powered the Raiders ground game with a combined 157 yards. Carr added 41 on the ground and picking up multiple, key first downs with his legs.
The Raiders' 208 rushing yards were, by far, the most surrendered by the Browns on the season. Cleveland came into Sunday's game ranked fifth in the NFL in rushing defense.
"You can play some safeties lower or you can move the front, but we were just getting knocked back so that is something we will look at," Stefanski said. "Ultimately, we have to stop the run, whether we play shell or single high. They late in that game were running it, we knew that they were running it and we were not able to stop it so that is something that we will look at long and hard to find a way to get better."
The Browns tied the score, 6-6, midway through the third quarter on a 38-yard Cody Parkey field goal. Cleveland initially thought it had a touchdown when Mayfield appeared to connect with Landry on a 20-yard touchdown pass, but an official review showed the ball hit the turf as Landry worked to corral it.
"That is a tough one in man coverage with the safety over the top, trying to put it where he can get it. That is a tough one," Mayfield said. "He got a shot in the ribs, and he was hurting right there. Not many people can make that play, but I know Jarvis is going to beat himself up."
The Browns and Raiders came into Sunday's games ranked among the best in the NFL in scoring offense, averaging more than 28 points per game, respectively. That kind of firepower just didn't materialize during the first half, as swirling winds, occasional rain and snow made passing an adventure and field goal attempts a gamble.
After a scoreless first quarter, Cleveland, which had a promising drive short-circuited by a Harrison Bryant fumble, struck first early in the second with a 41-yard Parkey field goal that started low, hung low and had just enough to get over the crossbar.
The Raiders controlled possession for the rest of the quarter, running 28 plays to Cleveland's three over the final 13:30 of the first half. Las Vegas used drives of 16 and 12 plays, respectively, to take the lead with two field goals from Daniel Carlson, who had a first-quarter attempt hooked by the wind. Those kicks gave the Raiders a 6-3 advantage at halftime.
After the bye, Cleveland will be back in action with a Week 10 matchup against the Houston Texans at FirstEnergy Stadium.
"This is not a question on whether we can regroup," Garrett said. "Nobody is going worried about this two weeks from now. It is just about getting the guys that we need back healthy and coming back and executing our gameplan. We did not execute today, and they did."