CLEVELAND (AP) — The distractions didn’t bother the Browns. The Dolphins didn’t get in their way either.
Jarvis Landry caught two touchdown passes against his former team and Cleveland won its third straight Sunday, 41-24 over the Miami Dolphins in the Browns’ first game since losing star defensive end Myles Garrett to a season-ending suspension.
Landry couldn’t wait to get back at the Dolphins (2-9), who had him for four seasons before they decided not to give him a long-term contract extension and traded him to Cleveland in 2018. He got his revenge, finishing with 10 catches for 148 yards.
“It didn’t mean extra, but it was fun,” Landry said, flashing a smile while speaking at his locker alongside teammate Odell Beckham Jr. “It feels great to get a win and to finish the game on a positive with everything that’s been going on.”
Baker Mayfield had 327 yards passing and hit a TD pass to Beckham, and Joe Schobert had two interceptions as the Browns (5-6) continued their climb back into the AFC playoff hunt.
The lopsided win capped an emotionally complicated week for the Browns in the aftermath of Garrett being banned by the NFL for pulling off Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet and hitting him over the head with it. That touched off a wild brawl in the final seconds of Cleveland’s 21-7 win over the Steelers on Nov. 14.
Garrett’s appeal was denied this week in New York, where he told the league Rudolph used a racial slur, something the league said it didn’t find any evidence of.
Browns owner Dee Haslam showed her support for Garrett by wearing a stocking cap on the sideline during pregame warmups bearing his No. 95.
The Browns managed to stay focused despite the endless talk revolving around Garrett and their upcoming rematch next week with the Steelers.
“It was only a controversy in the media, not in our locker room,” said defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who had two sacks. “Next man up. I was proud of the D-line and proud of the whole team for coming out there and doing what we’re supposed to do.”
With Garrett gone, there was more pressure on Cleveland’s offense to produce, and the unit came through. The Browns scored on four of five possessions inside the red zone.
Mayfield completed 24 of 34 passes, but threw his first interception in four weeks. Beckham had six catches for 84 yards, and AFC rushing leader Nick Chubb had 106 yards and scored on a 5-yard run.
“When we got our chances we capitalized,” said Mayfield. “We still didn’t play good enough, but we still scored 40 points.”
Mayfield feasted on a Miami secondary missing three starters. He threw TD passes to Landry and Beckham in the first quarter, and hooked up with Landry again in the second as the Browns opened a 21-0 lead.
Later, Kareem Hunt scored on a 6-yard run for his first touchdown with Cleveland to make it 28-0.
The Dolphins helped dig their hole. They were called for three pass interference penalties in the first half, failed to convert on a faked punt, and finished the first quarter with 7 total yards.
Miami quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick finished 21 of 39 with two TD passes and two interceptions on his 37th birthday. He threw an 11-yard TD pass to tight end Mike Gesicki, scored on an 8-yard run, and threw a 19-yarder to Allen Hurns.
“I’ve got to continue to do a better job,” said Fitzpatrick. “Overall we need more consistency and that starts with me.”
Earlier this week , Landry said he’d be “lying” if he said he hadn’t circled the matchup with Miami on his calendar. He quickly got back at the Dolphins by hauling in a 7-yard TD pass.
“The biggest thing for us was trying to refocus and not let what we were going through distract us,” he said. “Everyone had a great mindset coming in. Once they stepped in between the white lines, it’s about that game and going 1-0.”
The Browns are already turning their attention to the Steelers, who benched Rudolph in Sunday’s win over Cincinnati.
Richardson, for one, hopes Rudolph plays.
“You see him last game?” he said.
Schobert became the sixth linebacker in league history to record two interceptions in consecutive games. … Cleveland K Austin Seibert made two field goals, but missed a 46-yarder. … Landry and Beckham scored TDs in the same game as Browns teammates for the first time. They hadn’t done that since Sept. 14, 2013, when they played together at LSU. … Landry is the first Browns wide receiver with a touchdown catch in four consecutive games since Kevin Johnson in 2001.
Dolphins: Wide receiver Albert Wilson left with rib injury in the third quarter. … WR Jakeem Grant went out with an ankle injury following a 25-yard kickoff return. He did not return. Grant ran back a kick 101 yards last week against Buffalo. … CB Ken Crawley left in the second quarter with a shoulder injury, further weakening a thin secondary.
Dolphins: host Philadelphia on Dec. 1.
Browns: rekindle their fiery rivalry with the Steelers on Dec. 1