Baker Mayfield will start at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns next week, as everybody already knew.
The future is now for the Cleveland Browns. That became immediately evident on Thursday night when rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield grabbed the reins and led the Browns back from a 14-0 deficit against the New York Jets to win their first game in almost two years.
When was the last time a quarterback had that kind of effect on the Browns? It’s been a very long time.
Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and former Heisman Trophy winner, entered the game in the first half to take over for the injured Tyrod Taylor, and the rest was history. It was obvious immediately after that game that Mayfield would not be giving that starting job back to Taylor.
Head coach Hue Jackson, out of respect for Taylor, was hesitant to announce who would start against the Oakland Raiders in Week 4. He said he wanted to watch tape first, discuss it with ownership and the front office, and then make an informed decision from there.
But there was no way any other decision was going to be made. Mayfield was the obvious answer, and it became official on Monday.
Mayfield entered the game in the second quarter with the Browns trailing the Jets 14-0, and he went on to complete 17-of-23 passes for 201 yards. He didn’t throw an interception and was only sacked once. He didn’t throw any touchdown passes, but he did catch a pass to complete a two-point conversion when Cleveland decided to run a “Philly Special” play.
It was his first ever NFL action, but Mayfield performed like a 10-year veteran. Despite carrying the burden of a longtime downtrodden franchise that went 0-16 last year, Mayfield looked calm, collected, and confident. Just like when he played at the University of Oklahoma, Mayfield played on Thursday night with a competitive charisma and enthusiasm that you just don’t see from quarterbacks as much these days.
It doesn’t matter how unlucky this Browns franchise has been in the past. Mayfield is hell-bent on bringing a winning football tradition to Cleveland, and it doesn’t look like he’s going to allow anything to get in his way.
If it wasn’t completely obvious, Jackson made the right decision by naming Mayfield as the starter for next week.