CLEVELAND – The year of the rookies continued for the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at First Energy Stadium.
That gave Mayfield a touchdown pass in 10 consecutive starts, making him the first Browns quarterback to do that since Bernie Kosar in 1987, according to ESPN Stats and Information.
Nick Chubb also scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 4-yard run. That gave Chubb a touchdown in five consecutive games, the longest streak by a Browns player since Greg Pruitt in 1975, again per ESPN Stats.
The win kept barely flickering playoff hopes alive, as the Browns move to 5-7-1 with games in Denver, against Cincinnati and at Baltimore left. Those hopes remain a longshot. Regardless, Mayfield and Chubb are providing the Browns and their fans much hope for 2019.
Mayfield completed 18-of-22 against the Panthers – and three of his passes fell incomplete after bouncing off receivers’ hands.
Gregg Williams is now 3-2 as interim coach and with Freddie Kitchens running the offense.
Kitchens had one interesting play ready for the Panthers that saw the flow of the offense go left and have Mayfield hand off inside to receiver Jarvis Landry. The first time Kitchens called it Landry scored from the 3. The second time he called it Landry scampered for 51 yards, setting up Chubb’s go-ahead score.
Five wins are a modest total, but for the Browns they’re a benchmark of sorts. Cleveland has not won five games in a season since 2014.
Mayfield is now 4-6 as the starting quarterback, meaning he has as many wins as the Browns had total in the 2015, '16 and '17 seasons. He started with a 66-yard completion on the Browns' first play, then threw a 51-yard laser of a touchdown pass to Landry.
In his last six quarters – at Houston in the second half and Sunday against Carolina – Mayfield has thrown for 589 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
The Browns improved to 4-2-1 at home this season, guaranteeing them a winning record in FirstEnergy Stadium.