How Cleveland Browns got off to roaring 3-1 start in 2020 NFL season

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Should we be getting sucked into the Cleveland Browns again? They’re 3-1 for the first time in 19 years (don’t you long for the days of Butch Davis and Tim Couch?), and it’s hard to know if they can keep up the competence, particularly after giving up 566 yards in Dallas on Sunday. But maybe we should just enjoy it for however long it lasts. Cleveland 49, Dallas 38 was like a playground game—and it took playground plays to win it.

There was one play in the 12 games Sunday that took your breath away. It was the eighth play of the game in Dallas.

“I’ve had the play on my call sheet all season,” coach Kevin Stefanski said from his office post-game. “When I was making up the script for this game, I said, ‘I can’t let this game go by without calling it.’ I’ll tell you what we call it—if we call it again I’d have to change the name anyway.

“ ‘Bananas.’ “

“So you just call ‘Bananas?’ And everyone knows?” I asked.

“One word,” he said. “They all know.”

No score. Cleveland ball at the Dallas 37. Baker Mayfield took the snap under center, pitched to Nick Chubb flowing right, and here came Jarvis Landry split wide right coming back against the flow, and Chubb pitched to Landry reversing field to the left, and around the 45, Landry slowed and . . .


Landry let loose and fired a perfect spiral, 45 yards in the air, to a waiting Odell Beckham Jr. Question: Why isn’t there a pass in the game plan every week for Landry? He hadn’t thrown a ball in a game since a 63-yard completion in December 2018.

“Amazing arm, and he’s a lefty, which of course is rare,” Stefanski said. “I’ll tell you the amazing thing: Odell can throw it great too. And Odell can throw a great spiral either righty or lefty.”

Learn something new every day. The second playground play happened with Cleveland’s huge lead had been narrowed to 41-38 with four minutes left. At midfield, on the first play of a decisive series, Stefanski decided to play with fire. Another reverse. This time a run. “From my angle on the sidelines, I’m staring right at Aldon Smith, and he’s got a perfect line on Odell on the reverse,” Stefanski said. From left to right, here came Beckham, and Smith came in unblocked, and it looked like Smith was going to nail Beckham for a 13-yard loss, but Beckham quick-stepped to the right just out of Smith’s reach, and then turned upfield. The 50-yard touchdown, I’m guessing, had Beckham run a good 95 yards. But that won the game.

That’s a fun team to watch.

But Stefanski’s not going nuts yet. Three teams in the AFC North with three wins after four weeks, I reminded him. “And you’re one.”

“Honestly, I don’t ride the wave,” he said. “I stay pretty week to week. This was a good team win. We’re 3-1. But no one just wants to play one good quarter. Long way to go.”

Right attitude.

Read more in Peter King’s Football Morning in America.

NFL quarterback rankings 2023: Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of upcoming NFL season


While the NFL is a league that is ever-changing, some things are set to stay the same in 2023 — like the revealing of Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown.

Last year’s list saw Josh Allen take his place atop the quarterback throne, with Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes and Los Angeles’ Justin Herbert not far behind at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. It was, however, Mahomes who would ultimately reign over all NFL quarterbacks at the end of the season, as the 27-year-old collected both the NFL MVP honors and his second Lombardi Trophy.

This NFL offseason, however, has brought some intriguing adjustments that are likely to shake up Simms’ rankings.

While some signal-callers such as Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson found their prolonged home with massive contract signings, others will be venturing to a new franchise in search of a fresh start. Aaron Rodgers‘ trade to the New York Jets is unquestionably the most staggering shift, but other quarterbacks on the move such as Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo cannot be forgotten.

RELATED: Mike Florio gives an inside look into the Lamar Jackson deal

And with three of the first four picks in the 2023 NFL Draft being spent on a quarterback, emerging talent will likely turn the tides for some franchises this upcoming season.

See below for Chris Simms’ top 40 QB countdown ahead of the upcoming season. Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL season as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: Peter King’s latest offseason NFL power rankings

Chris Simms’ 2023 Top 40 QB Countdown:

40. Desmond Ridder (ATL)

39. Sam Howell (WAS)

38. Bryce Young (CAR)

37. CJ Stroud (HOU)

36. Anthony Richardson (IND)

35. Mike White (MIA)

34. Gardner Minshew (IND)

33. Taylor Heinicke (ATL)

32. Jarrett Stidham (DEN)

31. Jordan Love (GB)

30. Davis Mills (HOU)

29. Tyler Huntley (BAL)

28. Andy Dalton (CAR)

27. Sam Darnold (SF)

26. Brock Purdy (SF)

25. Kenny Pickett (PIT)

24. Baker Mayfield (TB)

23. Justin Fields (CHI)

22. Jimmy Garoppolo (LV)

21. Tua Tagovailoa (MIA)

20. Mac Jones (NE)

2023 NFL Schedule Release: Start time, how to watch, live stream, channel


With another exciting NFL Draft in the books, teams can now turn their gaze toward the road to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas. The path to Super Bowl glory, however, is about to become abundantly more clear with the 2023 NFL season schedule release.

This year’s NFL season schedule release is nearly here, with the entirety of the 2023 NFL schedule being unveiled on Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. ET on both Peacock and NFL Network. See below for everything you need to know for one of the offseason’s most anticipated events.

RELATED: Click here for full analysis on Rounds 1-7 of the 2023 NFL Draft

When will the 2023 NFL season schedule be released?

While all 272 matchups have been known since the conclusion of the 2022 regular season, the order and dates for these games have remained a mystery. The secret is nearly out, however, with every NFL game on the brink of revelation.

The full 2023 NFL schedule will be released on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET.

How can I watch the 2023 NFL season schedule release?

The 2023 NFL season schedule release will take place Thursday, May 11 on Peacock, NFL Network, and the NFL app at 8 p.m. ET.

While the entirety of the schedule will be unveiled at that time, select games have already been and will continue to be released prior to the official event. Ahead of the 2023 NFL season schedule release, the following games will be announced:

Who will play in the 2023 NFL Kickoff game?

The first game of the 2023-24 NFL season will see the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs take the field in Arrowhead Stadium.

The opponent that will meet Patrick Mahomes and company in Kansas City, however, remains to be revealed.

Which NFL teams have international games in 2023?

While the majority of the matchups set to take place next season have yet to be announced, the league has already revealed which teams will head overseas for international showdowns.

Below is the full list of international NFL games for the 2023-24 season, with three in London, U.K., and two in Frankfurt, Germany.

Falcons vs. Jaguars: Week 4, Oct. 1 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Wembley Stadium in London, U.K.

Jaguars vs. Bills: Week 5, Oct. 8 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Ravens vs. Titans: Week 6, Oct. 15 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, U.K.

Dolphins vs. Chiefs: Week 9, Nov. 5 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

Colts vs. Patriots: Week 10, Nov. 12 at 9:30 a.m. ET | Frankfurt Stadium in Frankfurt, Germany

RELATED: NFL’s 2023 international games full of “star power”

When is the Super Bowl and where will it be taking place?

Stars will be shining bright in Las Vegas, Nevada, for Super Bowl LVIII, set to take place on Feb. 11, 2024, at the home of the Raiders in Allegiant Stadium.

This will be the first Super Bowl to ever take place in Las Vegas, which hosted the 2023 Pro Bowl and 2022 NFL Draft.

Be sure to follow ProFootballTalk for the latest news, updates, and storylines about the upcoming NFL season!