If the Cleveland Browns were paying attention to the talk of them being overrated or a fraudulent 8-3 team heading into this week, they evidently weren’t impressed with it. The Browns countered with an absolute beat down of the Tennessee Titans in Week 13 — at least for the first half.
Somehow, with the Browns unaccustomed to holding monstrous leads and turnovers flying in the second half, the Titans were able to claw the deficit back and see the clock tick zero with them just six points behind, but this game was functionally over before halftime.
Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.
Story of the Game
After struggling for much of the season between good defenses, weather and inconsistent play, Baker Mayfield set the Titans' secondary on fire, throwing four touchdowns and 290 yards in the first half alone on his way to one of the best games of his career — and probably the best game that didn’t come against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Browns weren’t really able to restart once the second half began, and Mayfield finished the game with 334 yards and the same four passing scores. He generated a 90% adjusted completion rate for the game, and the team averaged almost an entire expected point per pass attempt.
The Titans kept chipping away, and they made it look close in the end but were blown off the field in their own building with plenty to play for in the first half. Nothing summed up how their afternoon was going more than the play they ran just before the half. Tennessee got the ball into the hands of A.J. Brown — who has shed plenty of tackles and made big plays this season — only to see him fumble it away as the team slumped to the locker room in a deep hole.
We expected this to be a game of two teams with powerful rushing attacks trying to crush each other in the ground game. But they combined for fewer than 200 rushing yards, with the Browns barely topping 100 despite an entire half of game flow in which they would have been looking to chew the clock.
Jedrick Wills Jr., Cleveland's top 2020 NFL Draft pick, had another solid day, aided by the complete lack of success from Tennessee's pass-rushers. Wills allowed just one pressure across 36 pass-blocking snaps.
Browns wideout Donovan Peoples-Jones had a big day, reeling in two catches for 92 yards and a score after he got behind a coverage bust for one of Mayfield’s touchdowns. He also had a dropped pass, which will limit his overall grade.
The Titans have relied little on rookies all season long, and this game was no exception. The only one to see significant snaps on either side of the ball was interior defensive lineman Teair Tart, who played 22 snaps on defense and was little more than a speed bump for the Browns' blockers up front.
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