On Sunday, the Cleveland Browns 2021 campaign came to a bitter sweet end. Battling on the cold shores of Lake Erie against the newly-crowned AFC North Division Champions, the Cleveland Browns competed with a free spirit. In the weeks leading up to the final game of the season, the Browns did themselves no favors in the push for a coveted spot in the NFL Playoffs. Losing pivotal matchups in the final seconds of the games to the Raiders and Packers sent a gut punch through the Cleveland faithful, only to follow up their efforts with an abysmal loss to the Steelers on national television the following week had fans and players alike wondering where the team was headed into next season.
Many questions and debates will filter their way through Berea this offseason regarding the future of our current starting quarterback, Baker Mayfield. Other focuses will be concentrated on contract extensions and negotiations among some of Cleveland’s best and most valuable defenders, Denzel Ward and Jadeveon Clowney. Despite all the noise and speculation surrounding the off-season, the Cleveland Browns defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 21-16 to cap off their roller-coaster of a season. The win improved the Browns record to a final tally of 8-9, it also increased their record against the Bengals to 7-1 in their last eight matchups.
Case Keenum started his second game of the season, improving his record as starting quarterback to 2-0. A healthy dose of De’Ernest Johnson brought smiles to the Dawg Pound as he carried the rock 25 times for an impressive 123 yards, including a touchdown. Jarvis Landry, who may have possibly played his final contest in a Cleveland Browns uniform, tallied 75 yards on 6 receptions highlighted by a 26-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.
On the other side of the football, Myles Garrett recorded his 16th sack of the bright defensive campaign. Heading into next season, Garrett trails Clay Matthews by only five sacks on the franchise’s all-time sack leader list. Jadeveon Clowney had a stellar finish to the year recording two sacks and a forced fumble. As mentioned earlier in the article, his future with the team will be a highly anticipated topic headed into the off-season. All in all, the 2021 season will always be a question of what if’s for the Cleveland Browns as they lost a total of six contests by a one-score margin, but the fight and determination showed at First Energy Stadium yesterday was encouraging to say the least. We, together, long for September. But until then Browns fans, enjoy your Victory Monday. There’s always next year.
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