The Cleveland Browns were stuffed not just once or twice at the goal line against the Buffalo Bills.
The Browns were turned back a whopping eight times from inside the 2-yard line as they looked to take a two-score lead on Sunday.
The Bills defense swarmed the backfield, pushing Nick Chubb backwards and Mayfield was unable to complete a pass for a score.
The play selection featured five Nick Chubb runs and three passes. All three of Mayfield’s passes were to Odell Beckham Jr., who drew a pair of pass interference penalties.
The futility was actually historic, according to ESPN’s Jake Trotter. They were the first team in 26 years to run six plays from an opponents 2-yard line or closer on a possession without scoring.
And just for good measure, the Browns got another chance inside the 5-yard line late in the second quarter, but were unable to score. Jarvis Landry got the Browns as close as the 1-yard line, but a run for loss by the Chubb and a false start forced the Browns to kick.
Beckham was a red zone monster with the Giants, collecting 25 touchdowns inside the 20-yard line in his five seasons.But he had only been targeted three times in the first half of the season with the Browns, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Beckham had expressed a want for more work in the red zone this week.
“I can smell blood when I get down there,” Beckham said. “I’m close to the end zone, I want it. It’s just a matter of finding the right play in the right time.”
Landry got the Browns on the board early, catching a 17-yard pass from Mayfield on the opening drive.
Kareem Hunt Makes Browns Debut
Kareem Hunt is officially back in the NFL and made his first appearance of the season was not as a runner, but rather as a blocker for Nick Chubb.
He helped blow open a hole as Chubb scampered for 21 yards. It became a theme that the Browns RB duo were on the field together.
Hunt did not get any work on the goal line, which could have provided a change of pace from Chubb, who was not finding any success.
Hunt had been counting down the days since his last NFL action and expected his debut to be emotional.
“It’s been 342 days,” Hunt told reporters on Thursday. “You know I’ve been counting down, it’s going to be an emotional game.”
Hunt has racked up 2,151 rushing yards, 833 receiving yards in his first two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. He made the Pro Bowl in 2017 as the league’s leading rusher and was on pace for another strong season before being let go by Kansas City last season.
Wide Receiver Antonio Callaway Surprise Inactive for Cleveland
Antonio Callaway, who has functioned mostly as the Browns No. 3 wide receiver this year, is among the players who will be inactive Sunday as the team takes on the Buffalo Bills. He has not been on the injury report this week, so the move figures to be a coach’s decision.
Callaway has just 8 catches for 89 yards this season — 41 of that coming on one play.
In his absence, Rashard Higgins — one of the biggest question marks of the Browns season — will slide into a bigger role. Higgins started the season third on the depth chart, but a sprained MCL he suffered in the team’s opener against the Titans set him back. He’s been targeted just three times since returning to the lineup.
Higgins had 39 catches for 572 yards and 4 touchdowns last season — all career highs. Callaway had similar stats, collecting 586 yards and 5 touchdowns. However, both players play very differently, with Higgins being a very cerebral, crisp route runner and Callaway relying more on his speed.
Tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, defensive end Olivier Vernon, safety Eric Murray, offensive lineman Kendall Lamm, wide receiver Taywan Taylor and cornerback Robert Jackson will also be inactive for the Browns.