The Cleveland Browns moved onto 9-3 for the season as they overcame the Tennessee Titans in Week 13, but there was late heartbreak for the winless New York Jets.
Cleveland claimed a somewhat nervy 41-35 triumph in Nashville on Sunday, equalling the start they made in 1994, when the Browns began 9-3 under Bill Belichick and went on to win a playoff game, the franchise’s last postseason triumph.
There was no such glory for the Jets, however, who are now 0-12 after giving up a slender lead against the Las Vegas Raiders in the most dramatic fashion, losing 31-28.
In Chicago, the Bears also slipped to a late defeat, going down 34-30 to the Detroit Lions.
MAYFIELD MAKES HISTORY AS BROWNS ENSURE WINNING SEASON
Baker Mayfield’s excellent form continued as he threw for four touchdowns in a brilliant first-half display from the Browns in their win over the Titans – a victory which ultimately became rather nervy.
Aiming to match their best start since 1994 and ensure a winning season in the process – their first winning record since 2007 – the Browns made a rapid start in Nashville.
Cleveland, thrashed 43-13 by Tennessee win in Week 1 last season, scored five touchdowns in the opening two periods, with Mayfield picking out Jarvis Landry, Kendall Lamm, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Rashard Higgins, and Nick Chubb rushing in late.
It put the Browns into a 38-7 lead by the interval, and made Mayfield the first Browns quarterback since Otto Graham, who led Cleveland to three NFL championships, in 1951 to throw four touchdowns in the first half of a game.
Tennessee, coming off the back of a 45-26 win over the Indianapolis Colts, fought back in the second half, and what looked to be a mere consolation touchdown from Jeremy McNichols teed up a grandstand finish when Ryan Tannehill picked out Cameron Batson for a late score following Mayfield’s fumble.
However, a failed onside attempt finally handed Browns the win and put them in a great position to clinch a postseason berth.
That’s 4-0 vs. the AFC South pic.twitter.com/nTMJM0RTBr
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) December 6, 2020
LATE HAIL MARY LEAVES JETS IN DESPAIR
New York had a first win of the season in their grasp, but Derek Carr produced a moment of magic to leave them 0-12 for 2020.
The Jets – the 18th team in league history to open the season at 0-11 – were leading 28-24 with a matter of seconds left on the clock.
Yet Carr then salvaged a win for Las Vegas, picking out Henry Ruggs III with a raking, 46-yard pass.
A reprieve for the Jets, perhaps, is that they look all set to have the first pick in the NFL Draft, which is likely to be Clemson Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence, with Sam Darnold having struggled this year.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) December 6, 2020
SIX DEFEATS ON THE BOUNCE FOR THE BEARS
Like New York, there was also late sorrow for Chicago at home to Detroit in an NFC North contest.
The Bears were hit by a late blunder from Mitch Trubisky, who was strip-sacked on the third down, deep in Chicago’s half, following the two-minute warning.
Chicago led 30-27 at that stage, but Adrian Peterson’s five-yard run won it for the Lions, who recently dismissed their head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn.
It brought up a sixth straight defeat for the Bears, with the futures of head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace up in the air.
“I don’t get into any speculation on any of that,” Nagy told reporters after the defeat. “What my job is to do is to make sure that each and every week I’m giving it everything I can as a coach and as a leader with these guys.”
Chicago sit third in the NFC North, a place behind the Minnesota Vikings, who clinched a 27-24 overtime victory over the one-win Jacksonville Jaguars.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) December 6, 2020
Week 13 scores:
Cleveland Browns 41-35 Tennessee Titans
Las Vegas Raiders 31-28 New York Jets
Minnesota Vikings 27-24 Jacksonville Jaguars
Miami Dolphins 19-7 Cincinnati Bengals
Indianapolis Colts 26-20 Houston Texans
Detroit Lions 34-30 Chicago Bears
New Orleans Saints 21-16 Atlanta Falcons