America's Team Is 9-3

Where are the haters now?

Jim Rome
December 07, 2020 - 9:54 am
Baker Mayfield and Jarvis Landry

USA Today

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To paraphrase a famous man: surprise, surprise, motherbleepers, the king is back.

A lot of people – correction - a lot of doubters, a lot of haters, were calling yesterday’s Cleveland-Tennessee game a show-me game for the Browns. Show me something. Prove that you’re legit. Prove that you aren’t just GETTING FAT on cupcakes, but that you can go on the road and beat a really good team in their house.

And lot of those same doubters and haters were directing that prove it attitude at Baker Mayfield. They were looking at Mayfield and saying, sure, the team has eight wins, but what have you done? They’re not winning because of you, they’re winning in spite of you. You’re overrated. You’ve been along for the ride. They can’t win big games with you. Not I mind you, because I’ve had the back of America’s quarterback, this entire time. But a huge chunk of America is always coming for this guy.

ALWAYS running all that noise, ALWAYS talking all that junk. Like being 8-3 wasn’t good enough. Like being a playoff lock wasn’t good enough. LIKE THE FREAKING CLEVELAND BROWNS MAKING THE PLAYOFFS WASN’T ENOUGH?! Like being the guy who was leading this team to the playoffs for the second time this century wasn’t enough.

They were calling this a show-me and prove it game for Baker Mayfield. YEAH WELL, and he showed all y’all. And then he shoved it all….right up your rectum! 

 20-for-25 for 290 yards and four touchdowns in the first half. Did that show you something? Did that prove anything? Oh, and one of his five incompletions in the first half was a dropped touchdown.

And he wasn’t just about completing passes, he was about pulling them in as well. Like this moment on the second drive.

Crucial first down conversion. Love it.  He’s too short.  He’s not good enough.  How many quarterbacks in that league are going to make that play? How many are athletic enough to go up and get that ball, secure it and get both feet down to move the chains.  Not many. How many coaches would even ask their qb1 to try something like that? Not many. And if Jarvis Landry to Baker Mayfield is good, how about Baker Mayfield to Jarvis Landry for a touchdown.

Nice. And you know what’s even better than Baker Mayfield to Jarvis Landry? Baker Mayfield to Kendall Lamm for a touchdown early.

The four best letters in sports: FGTD. Fat Guy Touchdown. 17-0 Browns. They’re just walking into Tennessee’s house and punching them in the face, repeatedly. But you knew the Titans weren’t some glass jaw Joe: you knew they’d eat a couple to give one.  And you knew they punch their way off the ropes.  And they did.   And they came back to score and make it 17-7.

So then all the doubters and haters were coming out again. Cool, the Browns got off to a hot start on the road, but the Titans are going to come back. The Titans are going to walk them down. The Browns won’t be able to handle the pressure of a big lead on the road in a big game.

WRONG.

The very next play a 75-yard TD.

You’re right. The Browns won’t be able to handle a 10-point lead on the road. They’ll turn it into a 17 point lead in a second

And that wasn’t some busted coverage that was a perfect play action. And The Titans bit hard on that.

And they weren’t done. They got up on the Titans and they just kept pounding. They forced a three-and-out and then went on an 11-play, 90-yard drive capped off by a Hollywood Higgins touchdown.

31-7 with more than five minutes to go in the first half. 31 points against that Titans dee is a great game for most teams. But that was the first half for the Browns. And they still weren’t done. The defense forced another three and out and the Browns went on another 9-play drive that ended in a touchdown.

38-7 Browns. At the half. On the road. Against the Titans.

If you were looking for a statement, that was it. Go on the road and dominate a really good, really physical Titans team. In their house.

And yes, they eased up in the second half. Because they could. They shifted into a lower gear because they had that ability. They rested up. They geared down. They saved some for next brawl. That game was never in doubt. They were doing what great teams do in December, being smart. 

But let me get to the Mayfield haters right now. Let me ask you something.

Do you still think he can’t pass?

Because he just became the first Browns quarterback since Otto Graham to have four touchdown passes in the first half. And my guy Otto, the literal OG, wore number 60 that year.

If you’re doing something that hasn’t been done since quarterbacks were rocking offensive linemen numbers, you are doing something.

As Mayfield said afterwards, channeling The Office, his philosophy is simple.

And he was asked about the toe-tap reception he had to convert that third down.

"Every morning, I wake up and toe-tap and get out of bed before I get into the bathroom. "Before I brush my teeth, I toe-tap."

And let me ask you this - do you still think the Browns can only win with running and defense? Do you still think the Browns are a paper tiger and puffed up their record on crappy teams?

What do I know? I’m just a guy on a microphone 1,500 miles away.

Let the people who are closer to it tell you. People like Nick Chubb: “Baker was on fire. That’s the guy that I know. That’s the guy that the Cleveland Browns know who he is. He came out, had a great game and led us to a victory.”

Kevin Stefanski knows, as well. He put the game in Baker’s hands and let him win the game. And here’s one other note. Mayfield was asked after the game if he had a sense for how Browns fans felt after the win.

This was his response. And it was awesome.  

"I would hope they would feel exactly how I do. We are going to be happy about this win until we wake up tomorrow, and then we are on to the next. This is not the end of the season. This is not what we set out to do. We did not set out to be 9-3. There is a lot of ball left, and we hope that way so job is not finished."

That is what I am talking about. They did not set out to be 9-3. They did not come here to take part, they came to take over. That is a message to Browns fans and a warning to the rest of the bleeping world. If you didn’t know, now you know. And if you had been listening to me all this time, YOU WOULD HAVE KNOWN.