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Lights out: Browns overcome Jets, stadium malfunction in HOF game

May 18, 2023

The 2023 preseason officially began Thursday night with the Cleveland Browns defeating the New York Jets 21-16 in a hard-fought contest that featured a brief delay due to malfunctioning stadium lights.

Down 13-0 early, the Browns outscored the Jets 21-3 the rest of the way to win the preseason opener. Cleveland held off a late attempt by New York to win by intercepting Chris Streveler deep in Browns territory.

Fifth-round rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson led two scoring drives for Cleveland during the comeback. Thompson-Robinson completed eight of his 11 passes for 82 yards and one touchdown. He also added 36 yards on the ground.

Aaron Rodgers did not make his Jets on-field debut during Thursday's action as Zach Wilson received the starting nod under center. Wilson, who was benched multiple times during a difficult 2022 campaign, led the Jets to a 6-0 lead and completed three of his five passes for 65 yards, including a 57-yard bomb to Malik Taylor.

Deshaun Watson was among many Browns starters who did not suit up for the contest. Former 2021 third-round pick Kellen Mond started in his place. Mond had a mixed bag of results as he tossed one touchdown and one interception.

Jets rookie running back Israel Abanikanda was responsible for the first touchdown of the 2023 preseason with a 10-yard scamper on a short drive that began as a result of the Mond interception. Abanikanda finished as the team's leading rusher with 27 yards on nine carries.

Meanwhile, the Browns' rushing attack made its presence felt with 172 total yards on the ground. Demetric Felton Jr. led the way with 46 yards and a touchdown while John Kelly added 42 yards of his own. Kelly also found the end zone on a three-yard reception from Mond in the second quarter.

First-round pick Will McDonald IV made his Jets debut, though he was held to just three tackles and one quarterback hit.

The contest was briefly delayed at the start of the fourth quarter after some of the lights at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium went out.

Members of the 2023 Hall of Fame class were honored prior to the start of Thursday’s game. The 2023 inductees include the likes of Darrelle Revis, Ronde Barber, Joe Klecko, and DeMarcus Ware, among others.