Analysis: Backup QBs saw plenty of action in NFL playoffs
Jameis Winston threw a 56-yard trick-play touchdown pass to Tre’Quan Smith on his first playoff action after 76 regular-season games over six seasons. In his 72nd NFL game, Henne atoned for an end zone interception with two huge plays to allow the Chiefs to escape with a 22-17 win over the Browns. Rodgers and Tom Brady, making his 14th conference championship appearance in 21 seasons, square off next week at Lambeau Field. If this was it, Brees went out with a whimper: 134 yards passing and three interceptions in the worst playoff game of his career. The Chiefs forced a punt and Henne got the ball back with just over four minutes left.
Browns' comeback comes up short, fall to Chiefs in playoffs
(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)Just like so many painful playoff losses in their past, the Browns came up achingly short — inches from a game-swinging play, inches from a last chance. After trailing 19-3, the Browns (12-6) fought back and were in position to maybe end the Super Bowl champions' one-year reign. "There is a finality to this one when you do not get it done in the playoffs, and that really hurts. However, Kansas City's defense dug in and forced the Browns to punt with 4:19 left. As they watched on the sideline, Mayfield and his offensive teammates felt that with one last chance, the Chiefs were finished.
Chiefs advance to 3rd straight AFC title game at home
(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)The AFC title game is returning to a familiar place in Kansas City. The question all week will be whether Patrick Mahomes will be able to play quarterback for the Chiefs. Coach Andy Reid’s gutsy call helped make sure the Chiefs would become the first team to host the AFC championship game for the third straight year. New Orleans (13-4) is hosting Tampa Bay (12-5) later Sunday for the right to visit Green Bay in the NFC title game next week. The win sends Rodgers to his fifth NFC title game as starting quarterback and the first at home since taking over from Brett Favre in 2008.
After losing Mahomes, Chiefs and Henne hold off Browns 22-17
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chad Henne celebrates after a run during the second half of an NFL divisional round football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in Kansas City. – The Kansas City Chiefs had lost Patrick Mahomes to a concussion and were in danger of losing the game. With their star quarterback reduced to a spectator, the oft-forgotten bunch opposite Mahomes' high-powered offense forced the Browns to punt in the waning minutes. After the teams swapped field goals, with Butker breaking the Chiefs playoff record with a 50-yarder into the wind, the Browns marched for what could have been a momentum-swinging score heading into halftime. First, the Browns held the Chiefs when Mayfield threw an interception and Butker missed a field goal.
Welcome to the postseason, Cleveland. Cleveland? Yep
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins celebrates after the team defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)Welcome to the postseason, Cleveland. Cleveland returned to the NFL in 1999, made the playoffs in 2002, and then, zilch. We expected to be here.”The NFL's two longest playoff droughts have been snapped with the advancements of Tampa Bay and Cleveland, both 11-5. 2 playoff seed and matched a single-season record for victories, set in both 1990 and ’91, when they made the Super Bowl.
Browns lose CB Ward for Steelers game after positive test
FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020 file photo, Cleveland Browns cornerback Denzel Ward celebrates after the Browns defeated the Houston Texans 10-7 after an NFL football game in Cleveland. Issues with the virus intensified Thursday for the Browns as top cornerback Denzel Ward and linebacker Malcolm Smith tested positive and were ruled out for Sunday's game. The team also canceled practice as it prepares to face the Pittsburgh Steelers — with a playoff spot up for grabs. The latest positive tests forced the Browns to initially close their facility to do close contact tracing. The Browns were getting ready to leave for the New York area on Saturday when Goodson's test came back positive.
Browns close facility, delay practice after 2 positive tests
(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)The Browns didn't begin preparing for the Steelers on the field but rather via Zoom calls. The Browns, who have nine players currently on the COVID-19 reserve list, will make the postseason for the first time since 2002 with a win. After learning of the positive tests, the team closed its facility for several hours to do contact tracing and Stefanski said players were doing virtual meetings — something that has become standard in 2020. "“I don’t think it would come as a surprise for a positive test in that market. The Browns did have a good development, with starting right guard Wyatt Teller cleared to practice after missing two games with a sprained ankle.
Browns add 3 more players to crowded COVID-19 reserve list
The Cleveland Browns added starting safety Andrew Sendejo and rookie tight end Harrison Bryant to their lengthy COVID-19 list, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)CLEVELAND – With their biggest game in years just days away, the Cleveland Browns added three more players to their lengthy COVID-19 list. Safeties Andrew Sendejo and Karl Joseph along with rookie tight end Harrison Bryant were placed on the list Tuesday, giving Cleveland nine players on the list. It's not yet known if Sendejo, Joseph or Bryant tested positive for the virus or if they had close contact with an infected person. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski has been vigilant about keeping his players safe and following NFL and team guidelines.
Browns' playoff chances take hit with 23-16 loss to Jets
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield leaves the field after an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Baker Mayfield coughed up the ball — and the Cleveland Browns' chances to wrap up a playoff spot. After a 23-16 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday, the Browns will need to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers next Sunday if they're going to end the NFL's longest playoff drought. The call was upheld by video review, and the Jets (2-13) sealed their second straight victory after an 0-13 start. Mayfield then marched the Browns downfield, and Nick Chubb's 1-yard run made it 20-10 with 2:56 left in the third quarter.
Dwayne Haskins starts for Washington despite breaking rules
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)Dwayne Haskins gets his second consecutive start for Washington with quarterback Alex Smith out again because of a right calf injury. Philadelphia receiver DeSean Jackon is active against Dallas after missing two months with an ankle injury. Harrison being inactive against the Rams comes as the Seahawks welcome defensive tackle Bryan Mone back from injured reserve following a lengthy stint because of an ankle injury. The Rams were without rookie running back Cam Akers, who had already been ruled out with an ankle injury. Washington: QB Alex Smith, RB Lamar Miller, WR Terry McLaurin, OT David Steinmetz, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, LB Thomas Davis.
Browns lose another player vs; Jets, starting LT Wills out
FILE - In this Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020 file photo, Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Jedrick Wills (71) takes the field for an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, Tenn. Wills had been placed on the COVID list on Thursday, Dec. 24 after being in close contact with someone outside the team who had tested positive. The loss of Wills further depletes Cleveland's offensive line; starting right guard Wyatt Teller will miss his second straight game with a sprained ankle. In addition to Landry, the Browns will be missing receivers Rashard Higgins, Donovan Peoples-Jones and KhaDarel Hodge and linebacker Jacob Phillips. They were placed on the COVID-19 list on Saturday before the team flew to the New York area.
Mayfield throws 4 TDs in 1st half, Browns beat Titans 41-35
The Browns had their best-scoring half ever, leading 38-7 at halftime, topping the 35 points scored in the second half at Cincinnati in 2004. The Titans made it interesting late, outscoring the Browns 28-3 in the second half. Mayfield became the first Browns quarterback to throw four TDs in the first half since Hall of Famer Otto Graham in 1951. That’s the guy that the Cleveland Browns know who he is. Tennessee opened the second half scoring back-to-back touchdowns within the first six minutes.
Beckham's season over, Browns star WR tears knee ligament
Cleveland Browns' Odell Beckham Jr. (13) is examined during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Cincinnati. Browns star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will miss the rest of the season after tearing a knee ligament during Sunday's 37-34 win at Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)CLEVELAND – Odell Beckham Jr. was in a much better place emotionally and physically. The star receiver's second season with Cleveland ended on Monday after an MRI confirmed he sustained a torn left knee ligament in the opening minutes of Sunday's 37-34 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. He had 23 catches for 319 yards and three touchdowns this season and scored on a 50-yard touchdown run.
Hurting Mayfield, Browns score late, outduel Bengals 37-34
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) talks with wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones after Peoples-Jones' touchdown reception during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)CINCINNATI – Baker Mayfield overcame a terrible start to throw for five touchdowns, including a 24-yard go-ahead score to Donovan Peoples-Jones with 15 seconds left, and the Cleveland Browns outdueled the Cincinnati Bengals 37-34 on Sunday. Nursing sore ribs, Mayfield started 0 for 5 — including an interception on his first attempt of the game. Rashard Higgins had six catches for 110 yards, and tight end Harrison Bryant had two touchdown catches. MISSING PIECESThe Bengals had lost Mixon (foot) and cornerback William Jackson III (concussion) to injuries during the week.
Mayfield throws 2 TDs, Browns hold off Colts to move to 4-1
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins (82) and quarterback Baker Mayfield celebrate after a 15-yard touchdown by Higgins during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)CLEVELAND – Bill Belichick was their coach and Nick Saban on his staff the last time Cleveland Browns were this good this early. Just three years removed from 0-16, the Browns are 4-1 for the first time since ‘94 — Belichick’s fourth season. “We needed a play to be made — and I’m greedy when it comes to that.”On the Colts' next possession, Browns safety Sheldrick Redwine, who came in while Harrison was being evaluated for a concussion, picked off Rivers. Mayfield showed patience on his 2-yard scoring pass to Hunt, which gave the Browns a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter.
Falcons won't have star WR Julio Jones for Bears game
The winless Atlanta Falcons will be playing without star wide receiver Julio Jones for Sunday’s game with the unbeaten Chicago Bears. ___CHICAGO AT ATLANTABears: CB Duke Shelley, OG Arlington Hambright, NT Daniel McCullers, WR RIley Ridley, OLB Trevis GipsonFalcons: WR Julio Jones, CB A.J. Eagles: WR Jalen Reagor, LG Isaac Seumalo, WR Alshon Jeffery, RB Jason Huntley, QB Nate Sudfeld, S Rudy Ford, G Jamon Brown, DE Casey Toohill. Browns: WR Donovan Peoples-Jones, CB Greedy Williams, LB Jacob Phillips, Olivier Vernon, Evan Brown and WR Rashard Higgins. Brown, CB Chris Jackson OLB Derick Roberson, C Aaron Brewer, TE Geoff Swaim, DT Matt DickersonVikings: WR Tajaé Sharpe, WR K.J.