Mayfield throws touchdown pass, Browns beat Falcons 19-10

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Cleveland Browns backmost Baker Mayfield (6) works successful the pouch against the Atlanta Falcons during the archetypal fractional of a preseason NFL shot game, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, successful Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Baker Mayfield yet got a accidental to play successful the preseason.

It didn’t past long, but helium definite made the astir of it.

Mayfield led a brace of awesome drives successful his preseason debut, capping the 2nd with a 22-yard touchdown walk to KhaDarel Hodge that sparked the Cleveland Browns to a 19-10 triumph implicit the Atlanta Falcons connected Sunday night.

Mayfield was 6 of 10 for 113 yards successful the NFL’s last crippled of the preseason. Teams indispensable get down to the 53-man roster bounds for the regular play by Tuesday.

“I cognize our guys are ready,” helium said. “They’re itching to go.”

Mayfield called it a nighttime aft Cleveland’s 2nd possession, making mode for Case Keenum and Kyle Lauletta to decorativeness disconnected a 3-0 accumulation run for the Browns up of a highly anticipated season. Lauletta had 2 interceptions but besides threw a clinching TD walk with 1:57 remaining.

The rebuilding Falcons mislaid each 3 preseason games heading into their archetypal play nether rookie caput manager Arthur Smith.

They passed connected a accidental to springiness backmost Matt Ryan his archetypal snaps of the preseason. Instead, Atlanta focused connected evaluating the backups.

Undrafted rookie Feleipe Franks played the archetypal 2 quarters earlier Arizona’s erstwhile first-round prime Josh Rosen took implicit aft halftime, looking to jump-start a disappointing vocation that has seen him bounce astir to 5 teams successful 4 years.

“I amusement up early, enactment late, grip it and rip it, and anticipation for the best,” Rosen said.

He completed 9 of 18 for 118 yards, including a 7-yard walk to Juwan Green successful the 4th fourth for Atlanta’s lone TD.

“We’ve got to fig retired what our quarterbacks tin do,” said Smith, who didn’t regularisation retired going successful an wholly antithetic absorption aft different teams marque their cuts.

Browns manager Kevin Stefanksi decided to springiness Mayfield a speedy look down astir of his starting line.

Mayfield led the Browns 66 yards successful 8 plays aft the opening kickoff. He connected with Austin Hooper connected a abbreviated walk that turned into a 35-yard summation erstwhile some Atlanta safeties committed to a receiver cutting implicit the mediate and near the erstwhile Falcons choky extremity each unsocial down the sideline.

The thrust ended with the Browns going connected fourth-and-6 astatine the Falcons 9. Hooper couldn’t bent connected to Mayfield’s walk and it looked similar helium would’ve been abbreviated of the archetypal down anyway.

Not to worry. Mayfield drove the Browns each the mode to the extremity portion connected his 2nd and last series.

He connected with Hodge connected a 20-yard summation to the Falcons 22, past went backmost to him connected the precise adjacent play for a touchdown astatine the near pylon. Rolling to his near and throwing disconnected his backmost ft with a rusher successful his face, Mayfield delivered a perfectly thrown shot to Hodge, who bushed cornerback Chris Williams and hauled successful the walk portion tumbling crossed the extremity line.

“He conscionable makes things happen,” Mayfield said. “He’s not a precise large guy, but he’s precise physical. I’m blessed we person him connected our team.”

Franks completed 5 of 8 passes for 66 yards, which included a 27-yarder to first-round prime Kyle Pitts making his archetypal quality of the preseason.

Rosen, the No. 10 prime successful a 2018 draught that led disconnected with Mayfield going to the Browns with the apical choice, is getting different changeable successful Atlanta aft projected backup AJ McCarron went down with a season-ending genu wounded successful a preseason nonaccomplishment astatine Miami.

Rosen mislaid a fumbled drawback connected his archetypal possession — not truly astonishing fixed helium lone signed with the squad 5 days earlier — and coughed it up again erstwhile deed connected a fourth-down play successful the closing minutes.

He besides guided the Falcons to a first-and-goal astatine the Cleveland 1 earlier the thrust fizzled retired aft helium took a sack.

“I consciousness bully close now,” Smith said. “But you ne'er cognize who’s going to go available.”

HODGE’S HOPES

After earning his spot successful the league arsenic an undrafted escaped agent, Hodge is bidding for a bigger relation with the Browns.

It was the 2nd consecutive week that the peculiar teams prima has hauled successful a touchdown pass.

“My assurance close present is done the roof,” Hodge said.

FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL

The craziest play of the nighttime came precocious successful the 3rd quarter.

Lauletta was deed arsenic helium threw and the walk was intercepted by linebacker Kobe Jones, who took disconnected the different mode connected a 42-yard return. But helium carried the shot sloppily with conscionable 1 hand, allowing Jordan Franks to slap it away. Offensive lineman Colby Gossett fell connected the escaped shot to springiness possession backmost to the Browns.

INJURY REPORT

Cleveland ruled retired 8 players earlier the crippled due to the fact that of injuries, including CB Greedy Williams (groin) and lLB Sione Takitaki (hamstring). Then, successful the 2nd quarter, OG Drew Forbes hobbled disconnected the tract with a genu injury. He did not return.

UP NEXT

Browns: Begin the regular play connected the roadworthy astatine two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City connected Sept. 12.

Falcons: Host the Philadelphia Eagles successful their regular-season opener connected Sept. 12.

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