1:00 p.m. ET
31 degrees and clear
Key Coaching Decision #1: (CLE ball, trailing 7-0 / third-and-2, CAR 3 / 7:41 Q1)
• The Browns score on a three-yard Jarvis Landry run. Landry, a wide receiver, was lined up tight to the formation and in the backfield. He later ran on third-and-2 from the Cleveland 45 with 14:13 in the fourth quarter for a 51-yard gain. It was obvious here that the Browns offensive coaching staff had seen something in the Panthers’ third-and-short defense that made them susceptible to Landry running the ball.
Key Coaching Decision #2: (CAR ball, game tied 17-17 / fourth-and-4, CLE 48 / 0:25 Q2)
• For the second week in a row, Panthers backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke was called on to throw a “Hail Mary” pass instead of Cam Newton. This underscored the throwing shoulder issues that Cam Newton has — something the Panthers have to address for the remainder of the season and into the offseason.
Key Coaching Decision #3: (CAR ball, trailing 26-20 / fourth-and-goal, CLE 3 / 2:39 Q4)
• The Panthers could have kicked an easy field goal to make it a three-point game with the opportunity to tie or win the game later if the defense made one more stop. Instead, they went for the touchdown. This was an option as Carolina still had two timeouts left as well as the two-minute warning. However, we think they did make the right call to go for it here; there was obviously no guarantee that they would get the ball back. On fourth down, Newton’s pass to wide receiver Jarius Wright was incomplete.
• Carolina then forced a Cleveland punt and they took over at their own 35-yard line with 1:04 in the fourth quarter. On the first play of scrimmage, Newton was intercepted by Damarious Randall and that effectively ended the Panthers’ chances for a comeback in this game, and likely ended their playoff hopes as well.
• The Panthers are without the services of tight end Greg Olson for the remainder of the season.
• Carolina’s season is looking like it will end in three weeks, as their playoff hopes are dim. The Panthers are now 6-7, after having lost five games in a row, and have two games remaining against the NFC South champion New Orleans Saints.
• The Browns are 5-7-1 and are 3-2 under interim head coach Gregg Williams.
• Cam Newton is not playing at 100 percent. He was inaccurate, including at the end of the game where he overthrew a Panthers wideout in the end zone and later was intercepted on a poorly thrown ball.
• Christian McCaffrey was again a workhorse for the Panthers as he had 22 touches (16 carries and 6 receptions) and ran for two touchdowns and 101 total yards.
• The Browns executed handoffs to Jarvis Landry for a 3-yard score and a 51-yard gain in the fourth quarter that set up a Nick Chubb TD run. Landry had arguably his best game as a member of the Browns as he finished with the two rushes for 54 yards as well as three catches for 57 yards, including scoring on a 51-yard TD pass from Baker Mayfield.
• The Browns had success executing on explosive plays as Mayfield converted pass plays of 66 yards (to Breshad Perriman) and the 51-yard pass to Landry. As mentioned, Landry also had a 51-yard rushing attempt. Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens is doing a great job of getting the Browns playmakers the ball.