Baker Mayfield

USA Today

The Cleveland Browns Are Back!

The Factory of Sadness has been shut down.

September 21, 2018 - 9:44 am

I’m going to start this show with a question I’ve asked many times before on this show, but this time, I feel like the answer is a little different. CLEVELAND, HOW ARE YOU LIVING TODAY.                                       

Now here’s something I haven’t said in a long time.

Cleveland: 21
Someone else: 17

And yes, I know that the someone else is the New York Jets and normally I wouldn’t be saying that you should celebrate a 4-point win over a team that has been almost as crappy as you have been for years, but Cleveland, you better be celebrating this. You earned it. 

You want to party all night? Do it. 

You want to call in sick today and just watch the second half on loop? I’ll sign the doctor’s note. 

You want to name the baby you conceived last night, Baker? You do that too.   

Because a night like last night doesn’t come around very often, so you better enjoy it when it does. For the first time in 635 days – not 365, 635 – you woke up this morning after a Cleveland Browns win. 

Look, I’m not going to do the hack thing of running down the list of quarterbacks you’ve had, or the losses you’ve had, or give some beverage company a bunch of free pub. This isn’t about that. 

This is about the Cleveland Browns, the CLEVELAND FREAKING BROWNS, are back! 

Yeah, I said it. And I know it’s just one game. And it’s JUST one game against the Jets, but the Cleveland Browns are back. 

The Factory of Sadness has been shut down. You’re no longer the Mistake by the Lake, you’re Cleveland, the City of Champions. 

And it came in the most remarkable way possible. Everyone knew going in that this was Cleveland’s best chance for a win in a long time. At home. Against the Jets. I said it yesterday on this show: Cleveland. You better win. You’re at home, in prime time, under the lights, the rest of the league, hell the rest of the nation, will be watching. Oh, and you’re favored. And the reason you’re favored, is because top to bottom, you’re the better football team. So you better win. Especially looking at that schedule.  Because if not now, then. When? Well, for most of the first half, it looked like never. 

Because for most of the first half, it looked like a classic case of BGB. Browns gonna Brown. The Jets were up 14-0, the Browns couldn’t move the ball, at all, and the Jets were abusing them in their own house…. enjoying themselves so much that Isaiah Crowell broke out perhaps the nastiest touchdown celebration ever. I could spend a whole show on how brutal that was. And I’ll get to that a little later… but in THAT moment, to have that dude, on that team, do that to you, in your house, with the entire nation watching, that’s about as brutal as it gets. Browns browning all over again. 

Oh, and as if that all wasn’t Cleveland enough, somewhere along the line, a Browns fan appeared to have caught a possum in the stadium. Yes, a freaking possum. In the stadium. So, just when you thought it couldn’t get any more Browns, it does. Again.

I mean…I’ve seen the video of the Browns fan holding the possum and then putting it in a box. I don’t know if it’s real – the video, I assume the possum is real. And I don’t know if the fan really caught it in the stadium or just brought it from home. I mean, who’s in line at the concession stand, sees a possum running along the concourse and says, screw the game, I GOT THIS, AND GO ALL ANIMAL CONTROL with it. I guess the answer to that would be: a Browns fan. 

But then. Tyrod Taylor was knocked out of the game with a concussion, which is brutal for him, and then Baker Mayfield came in. And everything changed. Not just the offense. Not just the game. Everything. How Cleveland views itself as a city changed.  How we all view Cleveland as a city changed. 

Mayfield led them on a field goal drive before halftime. Now it’s 14-3 and there’s some buzz in the building.

Denzel Ward, aka the other first round pick who’s coming up huge, comes up with a huge play halfway through the third quarter, recovering a Robby Anderson fumble.

The Browns get another field goal. Now it’s 14-6. 

The defense forces a punt and Baker leads the team on a 69 yard touchdown drive. And he was locked in, including a 29-yard laser to Jarvis Landry that took the Browns to the one-yard line. Carlos Hyde punched it in and then the Browns did this.

Are you kidding me? Cleveland hasn’t won in decades and they’re dialing up wide receiver passes to their rookie quarterback for a two point conversion? Incredible. Freaking astounding! Tie game. 

Sam Darnold got the Jets another field goal, but what did that matter? Nothing was going to stop immovable force that was Baker Mayfield; and he came right back: 15 plays, 75 yards, touchdown. 21-17 Browns with just over two minutes left. Cleveland was feeling it. If you didn’t believe before, you sure as hell did now. Mayfield was so incredibly cool and poised that he gets his own take. Hell, he should get his own show. 

On a night where the two top quarterbacks in the draft went one-on-one, that was a 10-8 round for Mayfield. He looked composed. He looked like a vet. He looked... like the guy the Browns don't usually draft. And then after running down Gang Green in the second half and delivering C-town's first win in nearly two full calendars, dude handled it like it was just the first of many. And that’s because it will be the first of many. This dude is cold-blooded. He went out there like a freaking boss: spinning it like he had been doing it in that league for a decade, when it was his first regular season action; he hasn’t even had first team snaps in practice, and it didn’t matter at all. As always, this cat was prepared, unflappable and completely flat lining on a huge stage. And then while everyone was losing their collective bleep over it after the guy, he’s just sitting there like what?  Haven’t ya’ll seen me play before? This is nothing new. This is just what I do. 

Look, killing that losing streak was a big deal. But finding a quarterback is an even bigger one. 

And after out-playing Darnold, running down the Jets and delivering The Land a night of Dilly Dilly, one thing is absolutely clear: The Browns have themselves a quarterback. And the dude is a freaking bad ass. It was a brass pick, he’s got a brass set and the Browns finally got it right.