The drought is over. Before last night, the Cleveland Browns had not won a game since December 24th, 2016. The city of Cleveland got that huge weight off their collective shoulders when the Browns took down the Jets on Thursday Night Football. Celebrations began and watered down beer was given away. What a time to be alive.
It didn’t look good at first for the Browns. They struggled in the first half, they couldn’t move the ball, and America was seeing one of the worst games in televised history. Tyrod Taylor looked bad. There’s no other way to put it, no sugar coating possible. He was 4 of 14 for 19 yards and was sacked 3 times. At no point did he look comfortable in the pocket. He didn’t even look like he wanted to be on the field. But thanks to a well-timed ‘head injury’, he was removed for 1st overall pick Baker Mayfield towards the end of the first half. And then we all witnessed the beginning of the Baker Mayfield era in Cleveland.
The Browns instantly looked like a different team as soon as Mayfield stepped under center. They looked rejuvenated; they looked driven. Dare I say it, they looked good. Mayfield led them down field before the half and got them on the board by way of a 45 yard FG. But it was bigger than 3 points. You could tell the Browns were ready to play. They played with more energy, the WRs ran crisp, precise routes. And Baker Mayfield had some serious zing on his passes.
In the 3rd quarter, with the score 14-6, Mayfield led them to their first touchdown of the night. It was a drive that culminated with Carlos Hyde finding the end zone. But the 2-point conversion was what made us all talk. Jarvis Landry passed to Baker Mayfield on a perfectly executed trick play. The Cleveland fans were excited, the players were excited. Hell, I was excited and I had no vested interest in the outcome of the game. We truly felt like we were seeing the start of something. The Cleveland Browns were becoming an exciting team to watch.
After a Jets field goal, the Browns had one more chance to win the game. Once again, Mayfield led them down the field and once again Carlos Hyde punched it in. This left fellow rookie QB Sam Darnold with just a little over a minute to try and win this game for the Jets. The Browns defense stood pat, put pressure on Darnold, and intercepted him to seal the victory for the Cleveland Browns. Victory…….for the Cleveland Browns.
Baker Mayfield finished the night with 17 of 23 passing for 201 yards. He gave the Browns life, he provided the spark that they have needed for some time now. It will be interesting to see what he does the rest of the season.
The NFL has seen teams go through hard times before, but what the Browns have suffered through the last couple of seasons has been historic. Last night gave the team and their fans hope. If you watched Baker Mayfield last night, I’m not sure how you couldn’t like this guy. We all want a guy like that on our team. He loves the game and he can surely play it at its highest level. Hue Jackson said he’s undecided on who will start next week. Really, dude? The rest of America knows. It’s Baker Mayfield time in Cleveland!