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Browns 35, Bengals 20: Baker Mayfield leads big rivalry win, doesn’t “feel like talking” to Hue Jackson

CINCINNATI — Hue Jackson got a game ball from Damarious Randall.

And the cold shoulder from Baker Mayfield.

Neither will go in his trophy case.

The Browns thumped the Bengals 35-20 on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, snapping a 25-game road losing streak and winning two straight for the first time since 2014.


The Browns downplayed the reunion with their former coach during the week but admitted afterward Jackson taking a job on the Bengals staff so soon after getting fired served as motivation.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield played mistake-free for the second straight game. He was 19-for-26 for 258 yards, a career-high and Browns rookie-record four touchdowns, no sacks and a 143.9 rating.

Jackson sought him out before and after the game, but Mayfield cut short the meetings.

Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) and receiver Breshad Perriman celebrate Sunday in the first half in Cincinnati.

“I didn’t feel like talking,” he said. “Left Cleveland, goes down to Cincinnati, I don’t know. It’s just somebody that was in our locker room, asking for us to play for him and then goes to a different team we play twice a year.”

Jackson was fired Oct. 29 after going 3-36-1 in 2½ years in Cleveland. Fifteen days later he was hired by the Bengals as special assistant to coach Marvin Lewis. Mayfield denied the move downstate left a bad taste in his mouth.

“Nah, it’s just like any rivalry game,” he said. “That’s how it is now. That’s how I’m going to treat it every time we play him, but there’s no hate. I think that’s how the team should treat it, too.”

The Browns (4-6-1) are 2-1 under interim coach Gregg Williams. The Bengals are 0-2 with Jackson and have lost three straight and five of six to drop to 5-6.

Cleveland scored touchdowns on its first five possessions not interrupted by halftime to take a 35-7 lead 2:04 into the second half. The touchdowns were memorable, but the play of the day belonged to Randall, the outspoken free safety.

He intercepted a pass airmailed by Andy Dalton in the second quarter, ran out of bounds on the Bengals sideline and handed the ball to Jackson. He took it, patted Randall on the helmet and dropped the ball behind him.

“That’s just something I always said I was going to do,” Randall said. “I never gave him one when he was with the Browns, so I felt he needed one.”

Mayfield didn’t see the early Christmas present.

“Oh, geez,” he said when informed. “Surprising? No, not really out of Damarious. Wow. OK.”

On his way back to the Browns bench, Randall blew a kiss toward the Bengals.

“Their sideline was talking a lot of smack in the beginning of the game,” Randall said. “That’s when I knew we were going to blow them out, honestly. They met me in the middle of the field pregame talking smack. I know if I have them thinking about me, then I feel like I have done my job.”

Randall called himself one of the best trash talkers in the world and that was on display Friday when he said the Bengals were going to get “their a– beat” if Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green didn’t play. He missed his third straight game with an injured toe, and the Bengals were embarrassed before the Browns got conservative and made a couple of stupid plays on defense to allow them to close within the final margin with 7:57 left.

“First of all, I just want to credit my team for going out there and playing lights out,” Randall said. “Obviously they saw what I said, the whole, entire world saw it, so I just want to take my hat off to my team for going out there and handling business.”

Randall predicts domination if Green doesn’t play.

Slow starts were a problem under Jackson and former offensive coordinator Todd Haley. Not with new coordinator and play caller Freddie Kitchens.

After no first-quarter touchdowns through nine games — eight with Haley running the offense — the Browns have scored three in the last two games, including a 1-yard run by Nick Chubb and a 13-yard catch by receiver Antonio Callaway on Sunday.

Mayfield picked up where he left off in the 28-16 win over the Falcons before the bye. He completed 13 straight to open the Falcons game and was 9-for-10 for 122 yards and a touchdown out of the gate against the Bengals.

He had plenty of time to wait for a receiver to pop open and spread the ball to eight receivers, with touchdown strikes to Callaway (four catches, 62 yards), Chubb and tight ends David Njoku (five, 63) and Darren Fells.

The 28 first-half points were the most by the Browns since 31 at Indianapolis on Dec. 1, 1991.

“The offense has been very unstoppable the last couple weeks,” Randall said. “I’m not about to sit up here and say any other thing crazy, but the offense is playing lights out right now. If they continue to play like that, I don’t think many teams in the NFL can beat us.”

The Browns avoided tying the 2007-10 Detroit Lions with the longest road losing streak in NFL history (26). The previous win was 33-30 in overtime Oct. 11, 2015, in Baltimore.

They improved to 2-1-1 inside the AFC North, their best start since the division was formed in 2002. They’ve won consecutive games by double digits for the first time since 2013.

Strong safety Jabrill Peppers got caught up in some pregame jawing with the Bengals before Jackson stepped into mediate.

“We’re tired of being disrespected, man,” Peppers said. “Before the game they said, ‘How you all talking, you play for the Browns?’

“What does that even mean? We’re an NFL team and we’re a tough team to beat, watch the film. That disrespect we won’t tolerate so we just wanted to come out here and do what we had to do.”

Peppers loved watching Randall hand the ball to Jackson.

“Even though he could’ve scored that one, him doing that, I’ll take that,” Peppers said. “It was so worth it. Then Coach Hue’s face, man — oh, my god. It was definitely worth it.”

Left guard Joel Bitonio said Williams didn’t say “one thing about” Jackson for motivation. The players took care of that themselves.

“He went back to the enemy,” Bitonio said. “We’ve got him two times this year.

“He’s trying to find work in the NFL, which is understandable, but he’s still there. He’s still working with the enemy and it’s someone that you’ve been going to battle with for 40 games, and now he’s part of the enemy.”


Browns writer for The Chronicle-Telegram and The Medina Gazette. Proud graduate of Northwestern University. Husband and stepdad. Avid golfer who needs to hit the range to get down to a single-digit handicap. Right about Johnny Manziel, wrong about Brandon Weeden. Contact Scott at 440-329-7253, or email and follow him on and Twitter.


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