By Jack Hamirck
Thursday night, Baker Mayfield finally got his chance as an NFL QB, amidst the “Baker!” chants and boo’s of Tyrod Taylor’s horrendous performance.
The #1 pick and former Heisman Winner posted a 17/23, 203 yard game in his debut, something Browns fans aren’t used to. On his first drive, Mayfield was 3/4 and marched the Browns down the field in 1:30 and got them their first points as the half ended. His time management was that of a seasoned veteran, and he saw the field extremely well, especially his safety reads.
What I noticed Baker did was target Jarvis Landry, a guy who put up monster numbers in his first four seasons as a Dolphin. Landry had only two catches before Mayfield entered, and finished with eight to go along with 103 yards. Landry is a guy in my mind that can turn a team around, much like Josh Gordon did before all of his off-the-field issues. Jarvis Landry, alongside Antonio Callaway, Rashard Higgins, Duke Johnson, and David Njoku, could be a deadly receiving corp for Mayfield to play with.
Another thing that No. 6 brought to the Browns was life. The Browns looked dead and defeated, only in the 2nd quarter, until Baker came in. Right off the bat, he threw an absolute laser to Landry for 14 yards, and the crowd erupted like they scored. After the final and game-winning touchdown drive, Mayfield ran down the sideline pumping up the fans, something I’ve never seen in Cleveland.
The Browns actually looked like a football team Thursday night for the first time in 2 years, a sight that all of football is excited to see. Now, they did beat a struggling Jets team at home by four, but they should have beaten a really good Saints team on the road, as well as the Steelers at home. This new look Browns team could become a playoff contender faster than everyone may think.