Baker Mayfield was unlocked from the bench and helped the Browns unlock free Bud Light for their thirsty fans as Cleveland overcame a two-touchdown deficit to defeat the New York Jets, 21-17, on Thursday night, the franchise’s first win in 635 days.
The Browns’ last win came on Dec. 24, 2016, when they beat the then-San Diego Chargers.
Mayfield, the top pick of the 2018 NFL draft, replaced concussed starter Tyrod Taylor before halftime — Cleveland trailed 14-0 at the time — and immediately ignited a stagnant offense in his regular-season debut. Mayfield was sharp and decisive all night, completing 17 of 23 passes for 201 yards. He connected on his first three NFL throws (for 47 yards), getting the Browns in position for a field goal before the half — and showed why the club made the surprising decision to take him No. 1 overall ahead of Jets counterpart Sam Darnold.
Mayfield even showed nifty hands, catching a two-point try from Jarvis Landry on a “Cleveland Special” type play to tie the game in the third quarter
— NFL (@NFL) September 21, 2018
Given the lift he gave to the offense, the boost he gave to a crowd that groaned through Taylor’s first-half showing and the breakthrough in the win column, Cleveland coach Hue Jackson will be hard pressed to sit the rookie after vowing all spring and summer that Taylor would be the season-long starter.
Mr. Hyde: Cleveland running back Carlos Hyde successfully compartmentalized his personal life, fueling a Browns run game that began the night ranked fourth league-wide. On a night when he was awaiting the birth of his child, Hyde consistently churned out large chunks of yardage on his way to a game-high 90 yards and two touchdowns, including the game winner with 43 seconds left.
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SOURCE: USA Today, by Nate Davis