Browns move to 8-5 with 31-27 victory over Jaguars

Browns move to 8-5 with 31-27 victory over Jaguars

It took a long, long time but the Browns eventually defeated the Jaguars 31-27.

In a marathon game that took three hours and 43 minutes of real time, Cleveland outlasted Jacksonville‘s comeback effort to move to 8-5 on the season and solidify itself as a Wild Card contender in a crowded AFC race.

Starting his second game for the Browns, Joe Flacco threw three touchdowns, finding David Njoku for two scores and second-year receiver David Bell for one.

Bell’s first touchdown of his career put Cleveland firmly in control early in the fourth quarter. On fourth-and-3, Flacco rolled to his right and found an open Bell past the sticks. But the closest defender had fallen down, giving Bell a clear path to the end zone to give Cleveland a 14-point advantage.

Jacksonville responded with a quick, nine-play, 75-yard drive that took 3:42 off the clock. Lawrence hit Parker Washington with a 19-yard pass to make the score 28-21.

While the Jaguars forced a punt on their next possession, they couldn’t do anything on offense with the opportunity. Trevor Lawrence’s pass to Zay Jones on fourth-and-3 from Jacksonville’s 38 was incomplete.

Kicker Dustin Hopkins hit a 55-yard field goal with 3:10 left to effectively put the game out of reach.

But Jacksonville made it interesting, as Evan Engram scored a 2-yard touchdown with just 1:33 left to tighten the score. But the two-point conversion failed when Myles Garrett sacked Lawrence — though that won’t count as an official sack in his 2023 stats.

The Browns recovered the onside kick and kneeled out the clock.

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Flacco finished the game 26-of-45 for 311 yards with three touchdowns, one interception, and a lost fumble. David Njoku caught six passes for 91 yards and Amari Cooper had seven receptions for 77 yards.

On the other side, Lawrence finished 28-of-50 for 257 yards with three touchdowns and three picks after suffering a high ankle sprain on Monday night. He also rushed three times for 11 yards.

The Jaguars had four total turnovers, also fumbling their first possession of the second half.

Cleveland lost both of their safeties during the day, as Juan Thornhill was a late scratch with a calf injury. Then Grant Delpit went down with a groin injury during the game. Browns center Ethan Pocic also went down during the contest with a stinger and did not return.

Now at 8-5, the Browns are the AFC’s current No. 5 seed. They’ll stay at home to face the Bears in Week 15.

Also at 8-5, Jacksonville has lost two games in a row and may be out of contention for the AFC’s top seed. The Jaguars have another tough game ahead, as they’ll take on the Ravens at home next Sunday night.

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