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The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Browns vs. Bengals Recap
The Browns were able to cleanse themselves from a distracting week with a gigantic 41-16 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Browns Stadium.
Here's a few big takeaways.
The Good: The Real Baker Mayfield is Back
Crazy what happens when wide receivers run the correct routes, am I right?
Mayfield was Pro Football Focus's highest-graded Week 9 quarterback with an 89.8 player grade.
For the first time since Week 1, Mayfield's accuracy was much improved and the Browns were stretching the field, highlighted by a deep touchdown to Donovan Peoples-Jones and a laser to David Njoku.
Give credit to Kevin Stefanski. In a week full of distractions caused by Odell Beckham Jr., Stefanski rallied Mayfield and the troops to get them ready for this gigantic divisional game on the road. Not to mention, he called a stellar game that consisted of a healthy dose of Nick Chubb.
The Bad: The AFC in Week 9
This is actually more good news for the Cleveland Browns, as the AFC is officially wide open.
Naturally, the Ravens found a way to squeak past the Minnesota Vikings.
Elsewhere, the Tennessee Titans without Derrick Henry improved to 7-2. The New England Patriots cut Cam Newton just 10 weeks ago, and they're 5-4. Buffalo was embarrassed by the Jaguars and they're 5-3.
The Browns were on life support at 4-4, but found a way to survive with a renewed sense of optimism.
The Bengals were red hot, and suffered two ugly losses heading into their bye week. The Raiders lost an ugly game to the Giants, and the Chargers struggled with Philly.
This thing is still wide open.
The Ugly: The Penalties
Depending on what metric you're looking at, the Browns are one of the most penalized teams in the league.
That ugliness resurfaced on Sunday in Cincinnati, where the Browns were penalized 10 times.
Defensively, the Browns balled out. Turnovers caused by Denzel Ward and John Johnson III paired with the steady play of Myles Garrett and Greg Newsome II was an important part of limiting Cincinnati's high-powered offense.
While this was a top showing for this unit, silly penalties like lining up offsides continues to cost this group a ton of yardage. The defense was penalized six times on Sunday.
Surely, the penalty problem is not one that is easily fixed. But Bill Belichick's New England Patriots will look to exploit it next week on their home field.
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