This year’s Hall of Fame game held in Canton, Ohio, where the Pro Football Hall of Fame is, featured the New York Jets against the home state Cleveland Browns. Zach Wilson made his start for the Jets at quarterback, while Kellen Mond held the reins for the Browns.
Mond played the entire first half, while Wilson played only the first quarter. From there, it was time for the teams to “work out the kinks” as they frequently changed personnel groups, trying to find the perfect combination, even though actual starters like Aaron Rodgers, Sauce Gardner, Deshaun Watson, and Nick Chubb sat on the sidelines, coaching players on the field.
Here are some reactions to Thursday Night’s game as we get closer to the preseason schedule and the eventual start of the season.
Reactions from the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game
Browns Involve Their Backfield
The Browns running game started off hot, led by John Kelly Jr. and Demetric Felton Jr., and they accumulated over 150 yards on the ground. Felton Jr. found the end zone and averaged 6.6 yards per carry. Kelly Jr. also reeled in four catches and one touchdown. The Browns seemed to favor the running game over the passing game in this preseason game, and it showed.
The backfield did an impressive job keeping the Browns afloat as they experimented with third-year quarterback Mond and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Mond struggled, throwing under 100 yards with one touchdown and one interception. DTR provided some hope for the franchise as a future starter as the fifth-round pick threw a touchdown, ran over 30 yards, and had an average of 7.5 yards per throw.
Although no runners eclipsed 50 yards this game from the Browns, they all played their parts and came out with the win.
Jets Defense Came to Play
The New York defense was out for blood this game. They were coming at the Browns from all angles in the first half, shutting them out and not even letting them near the red zone. They forced two fumbles, had one sack, and one interception, but fell apart in the second half.
After leading 13-0 at halftime, the Jets switched up personnel units for worse, as Cleveland piled on 21 points to win the game 21-16. Not all of this can be blamed on the defense. The offense simply couldn’t get anything started in the second half, as they only scored a field goal. The Jets worked to get everyone involved in this game and succeeded in that, but they didn’t pull off the win.
Zach Wilson was Serviceable
Wilson had the fewest amount of attempts out of all Jets quarterbacks playing with five but had a clean 57-yard completion to Malik Taylor to set up a Greg Zuerlein field goal. Wilson managed the offense well and, at times, stalled out due to penalties. The Jets had 12 penalties, costing them 80 yards and completely shutting down drives with 1st down and 20 yards to start.
Wilson looked good on his throws, and his operating ability within the offense was solid. Even though he threw less and had less on the stat sheet, he outperformed Chris Streveler and Tim Boyle. Wilson will be the clear backup behind Rodgers once the season starts.
The Lights Were Too Bright
After halftime in the third quarter, the lights in the stadium at Canton blew out, leading to a slight delay in the game. Players stood on the field and the sideline, confused as to why the stadium went dark. Some of the lights remained on, leaving the field dimly lit and, unfortunately, unplayable for a couple of minutes. No information has been released as to why or what caused the lights to go out. The only reason being given is just a power outage.
This is not the first time stadiums have experienced these outages during a game. The question is what will the NFL do in efforts to stop these outages from happening, which seems like pretty frequently.
The Jets could not hang on to their early lead and fell to the Browns 21-16. The Browns had a much better second half of football with DTR holding the reins, coming back from a 13-0 deficit at the half. The Jets and Browns will meet again in Week 16 of the regular season, leading us to believe this was only a sampling of what both teams truly have to offer.
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