The Cleveland Browns finally won a game, beating the New York Jets on Thursday night behind the stellar performance of Baker Mayfield.
For the first time in 635 days, the Cleveland Browns and their fans are winners. Thank Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield was the ringleader of both change and excitement, going 17-of-23 for 201 yards in his pro debut in a 21-17 win.
For much fo the first half, the Browns looked very much like, well, the Browns. Cleveland was solid on defense but stinking up the joint offensively behind Tyrod Taylor, who completed 4-of-14 passes for an absurd 19 yards. Incredibly, Taylor actually lost more yardage on three sacks (22) than he gained through the air.
Then Mayfield was inserted on the final drive prior to halftime, and everything changed. With Taylor leaving due to injury, Mayfield finally got his chance and showcased all the traits that made him the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft. The Heisman Trophy winner was gunning balls through tight windows, using his legs to buy time and inspiring teammates with a can-do attitude that was lacking for Cleveland throughout the last two decades.
In short, Mayfield was everything you could want to see from a quarterback in the NFL, whether it be a first-year starter or a seasoned vet. The result was a victory over the anguished Jets, with the fine people of Cleveland finally able to not only feel good about the moment, but also the future.
Mayfield represents the belief that something better is coming down the pike. He is the quarterback that Cleveland hasn’t had since Bernie Kosar, back when the Browns were perennial contenders to reach the Super Bowl.
It’s been a long time coming for one of the league’s best fanbases. Cleveland has enjoyed only one win since 1964, thanks to LeBron James (another No. 1 overall pick) back in 2016. With James gone, the city needs another athlete to take the mantle and run with it, becoming the face of a region in desperate need of one.
Enter Mayfield, the undefeated hope of the Browns.