By: Bailey Biddle
As we all know, Lebron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 offseason to join the Los Angeles Lakers. During that same offseason, the Cleveland Browns had the number one overall draft pick in the 2018 NFL draft. With the Browns needing a quarterback to set their franchise in the right direction, there were 2 quarterbacks that caught the attention of the Browns and the NFL. Those two were Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. With my knowledge, I thought the safer pick was Darnold, but the Browns took Baker number one overall and thought they had their guy. With the city of Cleveland scratching and clawing for a championship winning team once again, and a person that they can call the face of their franchise. Can Baker be their guy and did his play on Thursday night cement his legacy?
Let’s take a look back at the events that made Baker the Cleveland Browns starter. A Thursday night football matchup between Sam Darnold’s Jets versus the Cleveland Browns with quarterback Tyrod Taylor as their signal caller. The game was at the Dawg Pound at Cleveland with the Browns fans and players looking for their first win since December 2016. The game started out pretty ugly for both teams, and each team going three-and-out and having to punt the ball their first drive. The performance of Tyrod Taylor in the first and second quarter was absolutely atrocious with a stat line of 19 yards on 4 completions and 14 attempts. His quarterback rating was a 5.6 and he averaged as a quarterback 1.4 yards per attempt.
The Browns were down 14 to 0 with 2 minutes and 55 seconds left in the first half and Tyrod Taylor exited the game with a concussion. The stadium went rampant with Baker chants as he entered the football game and his first pass was a rocket to Landry for 14 yards, but I have never seen a fourteen yard pass give so much hope and life to Cleveland and their fans. Baker ended up getting the Browns in field goal range on his first drive. Baker and the Browns offense had new life and ended up scoring on their first drive and going for two point conversion using the “Browns Special” with Landry passing the ball to Baker in the end zone. After that, everyone watching in that stadium knew that the Browns were going to win this football game. The Browns took the lead in the 4thquarter and clinched the game with a pick to give the Browns their first win since December 2016, and a whole lot of hope for the franchise’s future.
Baker finished the day with 201 yards passing with a QBR of 94.9 and many flashy plays that shows the star potential in Mayfield. The Browns have officially named Baker the starter to open against the Raiders, which will have many eyes watching to see what Baker does in his first official start in the NFL. Do we really think that Baker is different and just another piece in the rotating cycle of Browns quarterbacks? I personally think Baker’s toughness and winner mentality sets him apart and that’s the difference between good and great. I think the Future is bright for Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns.