Browns Defense Holds The Vikings to One Score in 14-7 Win
Coming off of two straight wins — including last week at home against the Chicago Bears — the Cleveland Browns traveled to Minnesota this week to face off against the Vikings, a 1-2 team coming off a win on the road in Seattle.
For the first time this year, the Browns were positioned on defense to start the game.
The Vikings relied on the legs of two-time Pro Bowl RB Dalvin Cook to begin their drive. That helped set up their eventual pass attack off play-action.
The Browns fell to an early 7-0 deficit.
Like a mirror image, the Browns also relied heavy on their running backs, both in the rush and pass game.
The Browns were set deep in enemy territory at the beginning of the second quarter. An overthrow from Baker Mayfield to Kareem Hunt on third down set up fourth-and-short. They turned it over to the Vikings on downs.
A quick three-and-out gave the Browns the ball back, but their fate was the same — a quick punt.
The Vikings got the ball back but could not convert again on fourth down.
It was the Browns turn yet again to try to tie the game. With a heavy mix of short passes and rushes from RB's Hunt and Nick Chubb, they were able to open the pass game closer to the end-zone.
A tough defensive stand by the Vikings could not hold Hunt for long, as he rushed in a one-yard touchdown. The Browns completed a two-point conversion. That gave the Browns an 8-7 lead with less than two minutes left in the half.
Another quick three-and-out from the Vikings gave the ball back to the Browns with less than a minuet left. Faced with a third and long, they handed off to Hunt again, who went 33 yards to put them in field goal range.
Chase McLaughlin kicked a 48-yard field that extended their lead to 11-7 at halftime.
The Browns were unable to get a first down to start the third quarter. They quickly got the ball back after a sack by Takkarist McKinley. But their lackluster offense continued. Like a game of ping pong, the Vikings punted back to the Browns on their next drive. Both offenses were stifled this half, as the Browns and Vikings ending drives with three-and-out punts.
There were eight punts and no points scored until midway through the fourth quarter, when McLaughlin made a 53-yard field goal — extending the Browns' lead to 14-7.
On the next drive, Vikings QB Cousins threw an interception for the first time in over 200 pass attempts. It was caught by Browns DB Greedy Williams.
With less than six minutes to go, the Browns were set up to score and close the game out - but they were forced to punt.
A 30-yard toss from Cousins to Vikings WR Jefferson extended their drive, but they were stopped on a fourth-and-short with under two minuets left. The Vikings were able to get the ball back one last time, but were unable to score as time ran out.
The final: Browns 14, Vikings 7.
With three straight wins, the Browns (3-1) travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers on Sunday, Oct. 10.
Player of the game:
Chase McLaughlin 2/2 FG (Long 53)
Jamie Gillan 7 Punts (3 within 20 yd. line)