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DENVER (AP) — Whether it was “The Fumble” or “The Drive”
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in the playoffs in the 1980s or the 11 consecutive times Denver had dumped Cleveland Joe Thomas Jersey , the Broncos always served as the Browns’ biggest bugaboo.With John Elway watching from his suite at Mile High Stadium, Baker Mayfield capitalized on Denver’s depleted cornerback corps and dubious coaching decisions in leading the Browns past the Broncos 17-16 on Saturday night.Mayfield’s 2-yard TD toss to Antonio Callaway with just under 12 minutes left provided the winning margin for the Browns (6-7-1), who kept alive their slim hopes of ending the NFL’s longest playoff drought.Article continues below ...The Browns still have a shot at their first winning season since 2007 and even their first playoff berth since 2002 thanks to their first win over Denver (6-8) since 1990.“I think the tough environment, winning on the road’s the most important thing,” Mayfield said. “If we don’t take care of business tonight — and obviously we have to move on and take care of business next week — none of that matters.“So, being able to win on the road is something we’ve got to take pride in.”Combined with their win at Cincinnati last month, the Browns have multiple road victories for the first time since 2014.Callaway’s touchdown made it 17-13 and came with safety Justin Simmons in coverage because the Broncos were down five cornerbacks.The Broncos responded with a 13-play drive that ate up more than seven minutes, but after Phillip Lindsay was stuffed for no gain on third-and-1 from the Cleveland 6, Broncos coach Vance Joseph sent in kicker Brandon McManus for a field goal instead of going for it on fourth down.Jabrill Peppers, for one, was surprised the Broncos didn’t try for the first down or the end zone.“Absolutely. Absolutely. But, hey, it worked out in our favor,” Peppers said. “We’d been stopping them all day and they didn’t want to come away with nothing.”Exactly.“I wanted points there,” Joseph explained. “We had about 4:35 left. We had one timeout and the 2-minute warning. I trust our defense to get a stop there.”It didn’t happen, at least not right away.Nick Chubb reeled off a 40-yard run on the first play.“We can’t let that happen,” Von Miller said.But the Broncos came up with a big stop on fourth-and-1 from the Denver 10 when Cleveland interim coach Gregg Williams went for it — and Chubb was dropped for a 2-yard loss by Adam Gotsis.“We came up here to win a ballgame,” Williams said. “I don’t think anybody’s worried about me not being aggressive and we came up here to win it. Offensively we were going to win it right there. If not, defensively we’re going to come back and do it. Pretty similar going all-out blitz the last several plays. That’s the aggressive nature of the team.”The Broncos got the ball back at their 13 with 1:49 remaining and reached the 50-yard line with 52 seconds left. But a spike, two incompletions and a sack by defensive back Peppers of Case Keenum all but ended Denver’s playoff hopes.Keenum said he wanted the Broncos to go for it on fourth down at the Cleveland 6 but added that ultimately Chris Hubbard Color Rush Jersey , Joseph’s decision worked out, despite the loss.“I can’t complain,” Keenum said, “because I’ve got the ball back in my hands with a chance to win the game. So, that’s all I can ask for.”The Broncos began the night with cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Isaac Yiadom sidelined and they lost Brendan Langley to a concussion in the first half and newly signed Jamar Taylor to an ejection in the second half on the same play Bradley Roby went out with a laceration in his mouth. Roby later returned.With safety Dymonte Thomas, who had his first career interception in the first half, subbing at cornerback, Miller broke Simon Fletcher’s franchise record of 103½ sacks, including playoffs.Denver’s depleted defense, however, was forced right back out onto the field when Keenum’s first-down heave was easily picked off by T.J. Carrie at the Broncos 48, after just eight seconds had ticked off the game clock.“I didn’t see the corner,” Keenum acknowledged. “And it’s not an excuse. But it’s ultimately what lost us the football game because they went out and scored right after that.”Six plays later, Mayfield put the Browns ahead for good.INJURIESLangley went out in the first half and Roby in the second. Combined with Taylor’s ejection — he was signed after Harris fractured his right fibula two weeks ago — and the Broncos were left scrambling in their secondary.UP NEXTBrowns: Host Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 23.Broncos: Visit Oakland Raiders on Christmas Eve. BEREA, Ohio (AP) — The Browns‘ playoff odds remain immense, nearly impossible.Gregg Williams’ chances, on the other hand, have improved.Since being elevated to Cleveland’s interim coach when Hue Jackson was fired on Oct. 29, Williams, the team’s in-your-grill defensive coordinator https://www.brownsfanshop.com/Seth-Devalve-Jersey , has guided the Browns to four wins — two on the road — and has a team that didn’t win once last season playing meaningful December games, believing anything is possible.Seven weeks ago, Williams was a long-shot candidate. He now looks like a serious one.“He deserves credit for a lot of stuff that’s going on now, just the fire and the energy that he’s bringing to this team has been incredible,” Browns wide receiver Breshad Perriman said Monday, two days after a 17-16 win in Denver. “I feel like you can’t put a limit for the amount of credit you give him.”Williams has won over his players, who feel his attention to detail and demand for accountability has brought out the best in them. He’s also endeared himself to a segment of battle-scarred Cleveland fans, who would hate to see Williams leave and prosper elsewhere after his successful substitute stint.General manager John Dorsey, who is heading the team’s coaching search, will interview Williams for the full-time job once the season ends. Until then, the 60-year-old Williams won’t discuss his future.The gregarious coach loves to talk — about anything. But with two games to go, Williams is not going to address his interest in coaching the Browns (6-7-1) in 2019 and beyond.“I appreciate to answer that, and all honesty, I do not think it is fair to the players or to anybody here,” he said. “The most important thing is making sure that these guys understand how we continue to win and how we get ready for the Bengals (on Sunday). Really. When they see the mindset is that way — that is the way that my mindset has always been. We will talk about that at the end.”There is no denying Williams’ impact in less than two months.The Browns were in shambles when he took over, headed toward further disgrace. But Williams has helped salvage this season — Cleveland is technically still alive for a wild-card spot — while providing a glimpse of a future that hasn’t looked nearly this promising in years.Williams has more wins in six weeks than Jackson got in 40. He has demanded, and the Browns have responded.“I just think it was just more attention to detail, and just us in the locker room just not letting all the outside elements affect us and affect how we play,” said safety Jabrill Peppers. “It would have been easy to crumble and blame everything else that was going on, but we stuck together Kevin Zeitler Jersey , fought it out and we’re on the cusp of having our first winning season around here in a long time, so everything falls how it may.”Peppers said he didn’t have any “ill will” toward Jackson, but indicated the Browns have been better prepared by Williams, who stresses competition at all times.“We just practice real-game situations competitively now instead of having the game be the first time that situation arises,” Peppers said. “Let’s say it’s a two-minute drive, instead of the game being that first time our offense goes into two-minute mode, we do it in practice — competitive. We’re the ultimate competitors, so we all want to win that period, both offensively and defensively. I think that’s been the main thing that he’s brought that helps us win.”It’s possible that Dorsey, who recently celebrated his one-year anniversary with the Browns, already has his next coach in mind — his wish list may include former Packers coach Mike McCarthy and Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley — and there may be nothing Williams can do to dissuade him from selecting another coach.However, if Cleveland wins its last two games and finishes with a winning record for the first time since 2007, Williams could make it very difficult for Dorsey not to hire him.That once seemed a far-fetched scenario. Turns out, it may not be far off.NOTES: Rookie CB Denzel Ward has not yet cleared concussion protocol. He has missed the past two games. … Peppers and his teammates were motivated by meeting former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, who spoke to the team on Friday in Denver. “That was probably one of the dopest moments since I’ve been in the league,” Peppers said. “It was just a good experience, man, and his message really hit home. It gave me that extra little oomph that I needed for prime time.” Peppers had an interception, and his first NFL sack in the closing minutes clinched Cleveland’s win.
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