Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb have big days as Browns beat Falcons

CLEVELAND -- This was the game the Cleveland Browns dreamed of back in April when they made quarterback Baker Mayfield and running back Nick Chubb first- and second-round picks in the NFL draft.

The two rookies led the Browns to their most impressive win of the season on Sunday, ending a four-game losing streak.

Mayfield completed his first 13 passes and threw for three touchdowns, and Chubb scored on the longest run in team history as the Browns decisively beat Atlanta 28-16.

“It definitely helps the team spirit and gets the momentum going into the bye week,” Chubb said. “Just build on it and keep going.”

In the big picture, the Browns are 3-6-1, but they played their best game of the season and head to their bye week feeling much better about themselves. Since Gregg Williams took over as interim coach, the Browns have lost to a Kansas City team that has lost only to New England and bounced back to beat the Falcons -- rather handily.

Mayfield did not miss a throw in the first half, which he finished with a perfect passer rating. He threw touchdown passes of 28 yards (on the run) to Rashard Higgins, 13 yards to Chubb and 9 yards to Duke Johnson Jr.

“When I woke up this morning, I was feeling pretty dangerous,” Mayfield said with a smirk, tongue evidently firmly in cheek.

Mayfield finished 17 of 20 for 216 yards. His QB rating for the game: 151.3. He became just the second Brown in the Super Bowl era to complete 85 percent of his passes with at least 20 attempts. The other was Vinny Testaverde in 1993.

Chubb then showed why the Browns traded Carlos Hyde, as he ran through a hole, avoided a tackle and scored from 92 yards. That run broke the previous Browns record of 90 yards set by Hall of Famer Bobby Mitchell in 1959, and it was the longest run by a rookie in NFL history.

“It definitely is very special just being in this place with so much history and so many great running backs,” Chubb said. “To be part of breaking records, it is a great feeling.”

Chubb now has touchdown runs of 92, 63 and 41 yards this season, making him the first player since Doug Martin in 2012 with at least three rushing touchdowns of 40 or more yards in his first 10 games. Chubb finished the game with 176 yards on 20 carries.

Defensively, the Browns held the Falcons in check and limited Matt Ryan’s damage. He began the game averaging 335.6 yards passing and finished Sunday's game with 330, but he needed 52 passes to get them.

Williams now has as many wins in two games as Hue Jackson had in his first two seasons, and the team can go into the bye without the weight and drudgery of a losing streak.

For a team building toward 2019 -- the Browns can't afford to lose more than once if they have any hopes of this postseason -- every win matters. And this one matters to this team in a big way.

If the Browns keep playing this way the final six games, they will have something tangible to build on as they point toward their next fresh start.

“We have to build on it,” Mayfield said. “Like I said earlier in the week, we have to find the positives. We had a lot of positives this week. It is going to be about how we handle that -- not realizing or thinking that we made it, because we haven’t. We have a long way to go, but there are a lot of things that we did well.”