They are who we thought they were. Well, not quite.
The Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers came into the 2019 season with far different expectations — one destined for the playoffs, the other for mediocrity.
Although the Browns made the flashy off-season signings, it’s the Niners who are looking like the team to bet on Monday night after demolishing the Dawg Pound 31-3.
The prime time game proved a defining match for both franchises. The Niners silenced critics with an undefeated start, despite opponents having a combined record of 5-15. The Browns continue their uphill battle to be considered more than just paper champions.
Following a Browns three-and-out punt, Matt Breida took the first carry of the game 83 yards to the house — putting the red and gold on top 7-0. The undrafted free-agent out of Georgia Southern University clocked a speed of 22.3 mph on a careerlong score, the fastest peak speed of any ball carrier in the NFL this season.
Baker Mayfield got off to a shaky start on the offensive side of the ball as the flashy second year starter from Oklahoma failed to complete a pass in his first five attempts during his first three possessions.
The Niners continued to ride their home-field swagger, marching down the field with a run-heavy scheme, balanced by a consistent attack through the air. They capped off another possession with Breida in the end zone, this time from the arm of Jimmy Garoppolo for a five-yard score.
The Niners turned in a perfect first quarter, leading the Browns 14-0 with the help of two turnovers. After a San Francisco field goal flailed right, the Browns managed to get on board for the first time with a successful attempt of their own, a 30-yard Austin Seibert kick inside the red zone.
As the half came to an end, the Gold Rush took advantage of yet another Mayfield turnover, his third of the night. Tevin Coleman continued the rushing barrage, putting the 49ers up 21-3 with a 19-yard score.
Starting the second half with the ball, the 49ers bullied the Browns’ defense as they strolled down the field for 90 yards and a score. The score was all-pro Tight-End George Kittle’s first of the season.
An already impressive offense could develop even further if their stud tight end can find his 2018 groove.
The best Browns player was their punter Jamie Gillan, who saw far too much field time, another sign that this young 49ers squad is for real. They have come of age in primetime fashion.
The Browns did the most Browns thing possible and finished an already embarrassing night by sending their most coveted asset, wide receiver Odel Beckham Jr., out to receive a punt, leading to a strip fumble and another San Francisco score.
They are who we thought they were: The National Football Conference (NFC) leading 49ers stay undefeated heading into week six for the first time since 1984, while continuing to derail the Cleveland hype train.