JuJu Smith-Schuster claims Cleveland are ‘still the same Browns’

Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield celebrates.

It's been even longer since Cleveland was in the playoffs.

Indy, coached by Frank Reich, will kick off the playoffs Saturday at Buffalo in an intriguing matchup: In January 1992, Reich filled in as Buffalo's QB and led the Bills to the NFL's biggest comeback victory, 41-38 in overtime against the Houston Oilers.

"The Cleveland Browns have made it into the National Football League playoffs for the first time in 18 long years".

After almost two decades of dysfunction, bad draft picks, coaching changes and front-office purges, the Browns (11-5), who went 0-16 in 2017, are still playing in 2021.

The Browns almost blew a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter but stopped Pittsburgh's 2-point conversion attempt and then recovered an onside kick to hold on.

This section could easily be about the Browns' COVID-19 outbreak, which has cost the team practice time and will keep head coach Kevin Stefanski and at least four players out for Sunday's game.

"We're not satisfied", Mayfield said. "We expected to be here".

Browns cornerback Terrance Mitchell (not injury-related) didn't practice on Friday, an indoor session that was closed to the media.

"I have complete confidence in the protocol outlined by the NFL", Tomlin said. "I was anxious about this game and rightly so".

JuJu Smith-Schuster may have cut out the pregame dancing, but he's still doing some pregame talking. But the backup QB badly overthrew rookie Chase Claypool on the 2-point attempt, and Browns tight end Stephen Carlson fell on the ensuing kick under a pile of bodies. He was hurt in last Sunday's win over Pittsburgh.

"There are hundreds of thousands, not just here", defensive end Myles Garrett said of the Browns' fan support.

Wide receiver Jarvis Landry echoed Mayfield, saying the Browns have to deal with the circumstances as best as they can.

Unfortunately, this is the new norm and can happen to any team during this unprecedented COVID-19 ravaged season.

Welcome to the postseason, Cleveland.

"I think they're still the same Browns team I play every year", Smith-Schuster said. He has been a major, major contributor to what we have done this season and helped us win a lot of big games. During the altercation, Garrett hit Rudolph with his own helmet. "You just see a player who really wants it". "Wow, what a struggle, the way it should be I guess", said Donovan, fighting back tears.

For the second straight week, Stefanski didn't overuse his running back tandem of Nick Chubb (14 carries) and Kareem Hunt (10). His 47-yard TD run pushed the Pro Bowler into quadruple digits despite him missing four games with a sprained right knee. He was carted to the locker room.

Vernon's loss is a major blow to the Browns' defensive front, which will need to put pressure on Ben Roethlisberger to have any shot at ending Cleveland's 17-game losing streak at Heinz Field.

Green Bay (13-3) is the top seed in the NFC after beating Chicago 35-16, but the Bears (8-8) got in as the lowest conference seed when the Rams (10-6) defeated Arizona 18-7.

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