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LB In NFL: Joel Bitonio’s Browns Win, Jayon Brown Leading Titans

The good news: Wilson alum Joel Bitonio’s Cleveland Browns got their second win of the season on Sunday, defeating the Ravens to improve to 2-2-1. The bad news? Bitonio and his teammates are on pace to put in a free game’s worth of work at this point.

The 12-9 win on Sunday actually had some people talking about the playoff possibilities for the Browns, an unimaginable possibility last year when they were going 0-16. It was, however, the team’s third overtime game in five weeks so far this season (they’ve gone 1-1-1 in those games).

The NFL collective bargaining agreement does not grant additional pay to players when their games go to overtime, with the assumption being that it doesn’t happen often enough to warrant a line in the contract. The Browns, however, have played an extra half’s worth of minutes already this year, just five weeks into the season.

Bitonio and his teammates, of course, were just happy to collect another win. The Wilson alum and Browns lineman was bullish about his team’s outlook for the postseason after the game Sunday.

“Beating a division team that beat up on Pittsburgh a little – and we tied with Pittsburgh,” he said. “We are right there in the mix.”

Long Beach Poly

Poly alum JuJu Smith-Schuster was in the headlines again thanks to a touchdown celebration in the Steelers’ blowout win over the Falcons. Smith-Schuster only had 34 yards receiving in the game but he did have a touchdown catch. After scoring he lay down on his back and pretended to give birth to the football–when his teammate took the ball and handed it back to him he rocked it in his arms like a newborn.

Smith-Schuster is up to 450 yards receiving and two touchdowns on the season.

The Poly-led Titans defense came up just short on the road against a winless Bills team, falling 3-2 with the 13-12 loss. Jayon Brown (linebacker) and Jurrell Casey (defensive tackle) both played well, with Brown leading the team with 10 tackles and a sack, moving him into a tie for most tackles on the team this year. Casey had five tackles.

DeSean Jackson was on a bye with the Buccaneers and Kaelin Clay was released from the Giants. Jamize Olawale’s Cowboys lost an overtime game despite some strong blocking from the Jackrabbit product.


Jordan’s John Ross (Bengals) and Lakewood’s Matt Pryor (Eagles) were both inactive on Sunday.

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.