Browns defeat Jets to secure a postseason bid

On Thursday night, Joe Flacco surpassed 300 passing yards for the fourth consecutive game, Jerome Ford caught two touchdown passes, and the Cleveland Browns defeated the visiting New York Jets 37-20 to secure their second playoff berth in twenty-one years.

Four consecutive victories for Cleveland (11-5), which advanced to 4-1 with Flacco starting at quarterback. A midseason acquisition, the 38-year-old former Jet completed 19 of 29 passing attempts for 309 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.

The Browns established dominance with a high-octane first half. Fitzgerald accumulated 296 of his 309 passing yards in the opening half, while David Njoku, who led the team with 134 receiving yards, accumulated 113 of those in the first quarter.

Cooper (heel), a receiver for the Browns, was inactive for four days following his impressive performance of 11 receptions, 265 yards, and two touchdowns in a victory over Houston.

Elijah Moore, another former Jet and receiver, recorded an 8-yard touchdown reception for Cleveland on Thursday, which extended the lead to 27-7 before he sustained a head injury late in the first half. He failed to reappear.

For the Jets (6-10), Trevor Siemian completed 32 of 45 passes for 262 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Breece Hall accumulated 84 yards on the ground on 13 carries and 42 yards along with a touchdown on nine receptions.

To begin the game, Flacco orchestrated a seven-play, touchdown-scoring drive that culminated in a seven-yard pass to Ford. The Jets responded with a tying score from Hall, who caught a pass and dashed in from 21 yards out.

Njoku’s 43-yard reception moved the Browns to the 7-yard line of the New York Jets, and on the following play, Kareem Hunt rushed for touchdown. After new kicker Riley Patterson failed to convert the extra point, Cleveland led 13-7.

Siemian’s pass to Browns safety Ronnie Hickman, who followed his blockers 30 yards for a touchdown and a 20-7 advantage in the late first quarter, exacerbated the Bears’ already disastrous night.

With 2:02 remaining before halftime, following Joe Flacco’s touchdown pass to Moore, Jermaine Johnson intercepted the pass, gathered the interception, and returned it 37 yards for a Jets touchdown, reducing the deficit to 27-14.

Flacco produced the play of the evening in response. By evading a rush, he executed a leftward-rolled pass that reached an unblocked Ford, who outrun several defenders en route to a 50-yard touchdown and a 34-14 advantage.

A field goal from 46 yards out was kicked by Greg Zuerlein for the Jets with time remaining in the first half of the game. His attempt to kick a field goal from 31 yards out was blocked by Shelby Harris during the first possession of the second half.

The Browns’ offensive did not pick up speed after the halftime break. On the other hand, after Zuerlein kicked a field goal from 44 yards out with 8 minutes and fifty seconds left, the Browns took advantage of a turnover on downs performed by the New York Giants and had Patterson kick a field goal from 33 yards out with three minutes left.