Well that was exhilarating. Baker Mayfield came into Thursday night’s game with the Browns down 14–0 and their offense doing just nothing, and he played a brilliant half of football to bring his team back, and the Browns secured their first win since Christmas Eve 2016.
Mayfield isn’t all that happened in this game. Sam Darnold played like a rookie, completing 15 of 31 pass attempts for just 169 yards, and finished each of the Jets’ final two drives with interceptions. Cleveland’s defense was pretty frisky, too, forcing three second-half turnovers while allowing just five first downs after halftime. But apart from the sheer relief of the Browns finally getting a win, Mayfield will be what is remembered about tonight. The restless Cleveland crowd came to life immediately when he entered the game, and the Browns offense started moving the ball on his very first pass attempt. It was a dynamic, energizing performance, surely enough to get him his first career start next week at Oakland, even if Tyrod Taylor returns from the concussion protocol in time.
UPDATE: Or maybe not! COME ON HUE.
Of course, Mayfield was playing against the Jets, and if you were going to bet on any team in football to be on the wrong end of Cleveland’s first win in 635 days, you would’ve picked the Jets. And there will be plenty of time for Mayfield to catch chronic Brownitis and turn all the way into a tomato can, possibly as early as next Sunday. But for now, let long-suffering Browns fans open their dumb refrigerators and chant “BA-KER MAY-FIELD” and enjoy this brush with success, however cursed it almost certainly will turn out to be.