CLEVELAND — On fourth down contained in the Denver 10-yard line, Cleveland Browns quarterback Case Keenum dropped again with the Denver Broncos‘ move rush barreling down on him and no place to throw the ball.
So Keenum took off up the center. And with a Denver linebacker standing in the best way, Keenum faked left, then dove proper for a primary down on the 1-yard line. Then, on the subsequent play, he lofted a landing move off play-motion to assist propel the Browns to a 17-14 victory over the Broncos Thursday night time.
Two offseasons in the past, the Browns didn’t simply signal Keenum to be a mentor for beginning quarterback Baker Mayfield. They introduced him in believing he might come by way of in a pinch, to maintain Cleveland’s season afloat if known as upon. With Mayfield out due to a torn labrum and a tuberosity fracture in his left non-throwing shoulder, Keenum delivered on Thursday night time at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“He fought like he always does,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski mentioned of Keenum. “Orchestrated the operation. That was a huge play there on fourth down. Just to make a play, fighting for extra yardage. He did a great job fighting.”
Operating effectively out of a heavy play-motion-primarily based, quick-throw-oriented assault, Keenum steadied the Browns following two consecutive losses. He accomplished 21 of 33 passes for 199 yards and the landing, which adopted the play of the sport — his fourth-down conversion.
“You don’t have to get ready if you stay ready,” Keenum mentioned this week, “and I’ve been ready since I got here.”
Keenum might must stay prepared for the time being.
Complicating Cleveland’s quarterback scenario additional, Mayfield disclosed he additionally has a fracture in his left shoulder. Mayfield is aiming to return by Cleveland’s subsequent recreation on Oct. 31 towards the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But if Mayfield is unable to go, Keenum proved Thursday that the Browns have one other quarterback who can ship.
Buy on a breakout efficiency: With Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt each nursing calf accidents, third-string operating again D’Ernest Johnson made probably the most of his first profession begin. Johnson rushed for 34 yards on the opening drive, together with a 4-yard landing run. Johnson went on to complete with 146 yards — the primary 100-yard recreation of his profession. Chubb might be again as quickly as Oct. 31. But with Hunt anticipated to be out a number of weeks, Johnson confirmed he can hold Cleveland’s highly effective dashing assault buzzing.
Troubling development: The Browns protection dominated for a lot of the sport, holding Denver to 76 whole yards in the primary half. But in the second half, Cleveland’s protection had a number of alternatives to place Denver — and its lackluster offense — away. Instead, the Broncos had been in a position to engineer a fourth-quarter landing drive to maintain the sport fascinating. The Browns nonetheless boast the expertise to discipline a high-tier protection. But midway by way of the season, they nonetheless have but to place all of it collectively.
Describe the sport in two phrases: Get proper. It wasn’t the prettiest efficiency, however the Browns desperately wanted this victory to maintain their lofty preseason aspirations intact.