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NFL.com: What we learned from Week 10

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Cleveland Browns 19, Buffalo Bills 16

 

1. This was the game the Browns (3-6) absolutely needed, even more than last week's loss to Denver. When given the ball and a chance to win the game -- an opportunity they had last week and in Weeks 3 and 6 -- Baker Mayfield made the most of it for the first time in 2019.

It was reminiscent of last season's magical second half and was capped by a touchdown pass to Rashard Higgins, because of course it had to be to Rashard Higgins. After Browns fans have (understandably) spent nine weeks crying to the heavens for more of the receiver nicknamed "Hollywood," the Browns found themselves in the red zone and instead of toying with back pylon fades and shovel passes, Mayfield took a shotgun snap and targeted his old friend. It produced the game-winning score, the Browns' defense held on (thanks to a missed field goal attempt by Steven Hauschka) and Higgins had a chance to deliver this wonderful postgame quote:

 

Higgins being interviewed on the scoreboard.

Q: What happened on the touchdown?

Higgins: Juked the defender out his shoes.

��� Zac Jackson (@AkronJackson) November 10, 2019

 

It was another solid game for Mayfield, who finished with a line of 26-for-38, 238 yards, two touchdowns (no interceptions) and a 102.7 passer rating. He's strung together four solid games now, but the difference between those contests and Sunday's? The win.

2. The biggest story of this game that isn't the result itself is the Browns' red zone woes. They've existed for nearly the entire season, first cropping up on the national stage in Week 3, then significantly impacting the outcome of games in Weeks 6 and 9. They've never been more glaring, though, than they were Sunday, when the Browns ran eight straight plays inside Buffalo's 5 and came away with zero points, then ran three more red-zone plays, nearly went for it on fourth and goal again (Chris Hubbard's false start saved them from themselves) and came away with just three points. For those keeping score at home, that's three points gained from 10 plays inside the opponent's 5.

Fortunately for them, the Browns figured things out late when they needed it most. But in the last two weeks, the Browns are 3-for-9 in red zone efficiency. That's obviously not good enough, but perhaps they finally got over the hump with the late TD to win.

3. Although the Browns inexplicably went away from attacking it for stretches of Sunday's game, the Bills (6-3) should be concerned with their run defense. Nick Chubb found the going far too easy in the first half and was on pace for well over 100 yards before the Browns shifted their offensive priorities elsewhere, even while nursing a three-point lead. A better team likely preserves such a lead by keeping it on the ground against a Bills defense that was surprisingly poor against such an attack.

Conversely, the Bills should be pleased with the play of Tre'Davious White, who did a solid job against former LSU teammate Odell Beckham Jr. Sure, he was caught a little bit out of position a few times, but his body of work over the entire game made for a difficult outing for Beckham and also allowed Buffalo to evenly distribute its defensive resources, holding the Browns to just 12 points until the final two minutes of the game. White's arrow keeps trending upward.

-- Nick Shook

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001075271/article/what-we-learned-from-sundays-week-10-games

 

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