On this night, the night the Browns won a damn game and stopped being the brunt of jokes, Baker Mayfield stormed off the bench and lit up FirstEnergy Stadium, lit up a city, stuck a pin in the Sam Darnold balloon and knocked out the notion that no one as short as Mayfield should be the first-overall pick of the NFL draft.
It was 14-0 Darnold and the Jets when Mayfield relieved a concussed and inept Tyrod Taylor with 1:32 left in the first half and it was 21-17 for Mayfield and the Browns when it ended.“I’ve just been waiting for my moment,” Mayfield said.
He owned this night.He was Baker Montana.He was fearless, unflappable, fueled by the swagger and moxie he displayed at Oklahoma.He engineered a 69-yard touchdown drive and caught the two-point conversion pass from Jarvis Landry that tied the game.
He sprayed missiles on the winning drive, which culminated in a 1-yard Carlos Hyde TD run.Mayfield versus Darnold: Mayfield by KO.Darnold had two final chances to win the game — but was intercepted twice in the last two minutes.
The last time the Browns had won a game was Christmas Eve 2016, a 20-17 white-knuckler over the Chargers at home. The quarterback was RG3. That win improved the Browns’ record to 1-14 that 2016 season.
“Cleveland deserves to win,” Mayfield said. “We’re not done yet. So don’t break the Dilly Dilly coolers too hard.”He was asked where this ranks for him.“This is definitely up there for me,” Mayfield said.
He put on such a show, was such an inspirational ball of raging fire that when it ended, after Dee Haslam, the owner’s wife, held up a game ball to cheering fans outside the Browns locker room, the great Jim Brown was asked what he thought of Baker Mayfield.
“What did I think of him? What could I think of him? He’s fantastic!” Brown said. “A lot of poise, a lot of confidence. The ability to throw the ball in the right position. And not afraid of anything. I love his attitude.”Mayfield played to win. Darnold (15-for-31, 169 yards, 2 interceptions) played more not to lose.