Beckham, who accused Williams of “cheap shots and dirty plays” that “changed my life forever” with a string of injuries, didn’t wear his insanely expensive watch during the Jets game, but he still made sure it was OBJ time at MetLife Stadium in front of Williams and a national television audience.
After the game, when asked in his podium press conference about Williams, Beckham said "who?''
In his return to his old stomping grounds, Beckham caught a little seam route from Baker Mayfield near the 20 on the first play of a third-quarter drive and raced upfield for a career-long 89-yard touchdown catch to put the game out of reach at 23-3. TV replays showed Williams screaming on the Jets sideline during Beckham’s catch and run.
After the score, Beckham celebrated by pretending to open a door and walk through it, as if to say "I’m home.''
It was the fastest speed on a scoring play this season, according to Next Gen Stats, who said Beckham reached 21.70 mph.
“I’ve lost enough games here, so to leave here with a win is a good feeling,” said Beckham, who played his home games at MetLife for the Giants before being traded to the Browns during the offseason.
The TD — the longest of Beckham’s career — came after he left the field early at halftime after cramping up in the end zone on a bomb to him that was broken up.
The score also came after a frustrating three quarters for Mayfield and Beckham for one reason or another. Mayfield was stymied by Williams, who confused him with different looks in the game and held the Browns to two field goals on their first two drives and 16 points until that Beckham outburst.
Beckham — who made a spectacular 33-yard one-handed sideline catch at the Jets’ 4 on the opening drive — was rattled by the officials on that opening drive when they made him leave the field to remove his gold visor. Beckham, who flung his helmet to the Browns’ trainer, was fuming on the sideline while Mayfield faced a third and 5.
Mayfield rolled to his right and threw the ball away with his star receiver off the field. The Browns settled for a 23-yard field goal, the first of two on their opening two possessions.
Late in the second half, with the Browns leading 13-3, Mayfield heaved the ball 40 yards to Beckham in the end zone, and the pass was broken up. Beckham tried to get up, but something didn’t feel right and he took a seat for a moment in the end zone. He then limped over to the sideline for a chat with the medical staff, and jogged to the opposite corner of the field and into the locker room with the medical staff.
But he was back on the field on the Browns’ first drive of the second half, and looked perfectly fine as he sprinted into the end zone with the fourth-longest touchdown catch in Browns history.
The victory improved the Browns to 2-0 and marked Freddie Kitchens’ first victory as head coach.
“I’m just ready to get to work on the next one,” Kitchens said after the game when asked about his first win.
The game was also personal for Myles Garrett, who holds a grudge against Williams for, he says, limiting him to two pass-rush moves in his first two seasons. Garrett finished with three sacks but also two roughing-the-passer penalties, one offsides penalty and one quarterback knocked out of the game.
Garrett knocked quarterback Trevor Siemian out of the game with 7:47 left in the half when he drilled him helmet-to-chin and Siemian fell awkwardly with his left leg pinned underneath him. Siemian walked off on his own and then limped to the locker room.
He was replaced by Luke Falk, originally a sixth-round pick of the Titans in 2018, who was activated off the practice squad this week when Sam Darnold was ruled out of the game with mono.
The hit on Siemian earned Garrett his second 15-yard roughing call just a week after he was fined $10,527 for clocking Titans tight end Delanie Walker across the facemask. He can expect to have his wallet lightened again this week.
Kitchens called Garrett’s penalties "a form of selfishness'' at halftime, according to radio sideline reporter Ross Tucker.
Kitchens admitted in his postgame press conference that he pulled Garrett aside after that second one and reminded him "he’s in the game to get sacks'' and not penalties.
Garrett acknowledged that "I can’t do that to my team'' and "I don’t want a reputation for late hits.'' He did say, however, that he felt it was a clean hit, although Kitchens said it was a good call.
The flag and insertion of Falk temporarily rejuvenated the Jets, who went on to kick a field goal on the drive to avoid the shutout.
The Jets (0-2) tried to make it a game in the fourth quarter when Darryl Roberts picked off Mayfield on a ball that went off Beckham. But the Jets gave it right back when Le’Veon Bell was stripped by Joe Schobert deep in Browns territory and T.J. Carrie recovered and returned it to the 10.
The victory helped erase the sting of the Browns’ 43-13 loss to the Titans in the opener and got the Browns going in the right direction with the Rams coming to town next week for a Sunday night matchup.
Mayfield completed 19-of-35 attempts for 325 yards with one touchdown and one interception for an 83.6 rating. Beckham caught six of 10 targets for 161 yards and one one TD. Jarvis Landry caught three passes for 32 yards. NIck Chubb rushed 18 times for 62 yards and one 19-yard TD. He caught four passes for 36 yards.
Kitchens said he never considered pulling Mayfield or Chubb in the fourth quarter after the game was well in hand.
Browns tight end David Njoku left the game with a concussion and didn’t return after getting upended in the first quarter by cornerback Nate Hairston.
Njoku was wobbly as he walked to the sideline, and was taken to the locker room, where he was diagnosed with the concussion.
The Browns were already without Rashard Higgins, who is Mayfield’s safety net. Higgins was inactive with a sprained ankle.
Defensive back Morgan Burnett left the game with a quad injury.
The Browns host the defending Los Angeles Rams (2-0) on Sunday Night Football. Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. on NBC.