A Thursday Night Thriller! The beer fridges were opened, the Browns found a quarterback, and they won a football game.
30 Quick Hits from the Browns 21-17 against the Jets in Week Three on Thursday Night Football
- I don’t even know where to begin.
- How about this…let’s start here. I have tried to correctly predict the outcomes of games time-and-time again, and over-and-over I continually predict the final scores incorrectly. In all fairness to myself, to correctly predict the winner of a game is not easy — to pick the final score of the game is virtually impossible. Tonight was a different outcome: I correctly predicted the final score of tonight’s Browns game. A 21-17 win for Cleveland. Here is the proof.
- The Browns found a franchise quarterback.
- Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield received ZERO arranged snaps with the first team offense in the pre-season. Mayfield received ZERO snaps with the first-team offense throughout training camp. The only time Mayfield worked with the first-team offense was in the third preseason game against the Eagles when Tyrod Taylor went down. Taylor went down against the Jets and Mayfield went in for the first time of the regular season. The rest is history.
- For Taylor, on all accounts, tonight was miserable. At the 3:01 mark in the second quarter, Taylor was sacked for the third time of the night and this time, he would not get up healthy. Avery Williamson knocked Taylor out of the game, forcing the Browns to punt and make a change at quarterback.
- Taylor immediately was escorted by the team’s medical staff and the independent neurologist to the blue medical tent on the Browns sideline, where he was evaluated for a concussion. After spending around 15 minutes in the medical tent, Taylor went into the locker room with the personnel. For the Browns offense against the Jets, it was better to have Taylor out of the game.
- There is no soft way to put it — for the second consecutive week Taylor was terrible. The offensive line did absolutely nothing to help Taylor and all it did was make matters worse. Before leaving the game with a concussion, Taylor was 4-of-14 passing for 19 yards. Not pretty.
- Meanwhile, as Taylor headed for the medical tent, Mayfield was warming up on the sideline preparing to take over the Browns offense.
- The first overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft was put in a very difficult position when he entered the game. The Browns offense was playing as poor and the scoreboard reflected it. The Jets led 14-0 and the outlook was not pretty. The chances of the Browns earning their first win in over 600 days seemed slim. Although the outlook was ugly, it did not matter for Mayfield — it never really seems to anyway.
- Mayfield’s first drive in a regular season NFL game was a scoring drive. On Mayfield’s first pass to Jarvis Landry, the rookie quarterback matched Taylor’s passing yard total of 14 yards. It took Taylor 14 attempts to gather 14-yards, it took Mayfield one.
- A spark was lit, with the Browns offense catching fire gaining the ability to achieve a first down. Earlier in the evening, it seemed like the Browns could not even buy a first down, even with the most salary cap space in the NFL.
- Following the 14-yard pass to Landry, Mayfield found 2017 first round tight end David Njoku for a 17-yard gain, his first target of the night, coming for a first down. Then, adversity hit.
- Mayfield was sacked by Jordan Jenkins and fumbled the ball. Luckily, left guard Joel Bitonio reacted quickly by recovering the fumble and even tried to run for the first down himself. Unfortunately, for both Bitonio and the Browns, the loss on the play was negative-eight yards, making it 2nd & 18 on the Jets 43-yard line, putting the Browns out of field goal range.
- For the second time in four plays, Mayfield found the veteran receiver, Landry, for a 16-yard gain. Mayfield positioned the Browns for 3rd & 2 following the completion to Landry. Mayfield and fellow rookie Antonio Callaway could not connect on third and short, and out came the field goal unit.
- Newly signed rookie kicker Greg Joseph lined up for his first career field goal attempt at FirstEnergy Stadium, a 45-yard attempt. The ball was snapped, the hold was solid, and the kick was….good…hardly. Joseph’s kick looked like a knuckle curve as it swerved between the goal posts but the kick was between the goal posts and that is all that mattered.
- 3-of-4, 47 yards, and three points on the board for Mayfield in his first career drive in primetime — not bad, kid. Oh yeah, and it was a two-minute drill — even more impressive.
- Once again the Browns stepped up to the plate and played outstanding. On the Jets second drive of the second half, rookie Denzel Ward stripped Jets receiver Robby Anderson, and Ward recovered. Browns ball.
- Mayfield had some hiccups responding after trotting back onto the field for the second time of the half, which came midway through the third quarter. After being positioned within the Jets ten-yard line, Mayfield was unable to put together a touchdown drive after a no gain rush from Carols Hyde and two straight incompletions. Unlike Kizer as a rookie, Mayfield did not turn the ball over in the red zone and the Browns capitalized with three additional points narrowing the lead to one possession.
- Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who finished the night 15-of-31 passing for 169 yards and two interceptions was brought back down to earth by the Browns defense. Darnold did make some plays, however, responding with a fumble by Anderson on the previous drive with a first down pass to his tight end Eric Tomlinson for a 14-yard reception. The Browns defense made up for the first down, forcing the Jets to punt four plays later. The football was back in the hands of Mayfield.
- On this drive, Mayfield cemented himself as the team’s starting quarterback — a franchise quarterback. Starting at their own 39-yard line Mayfield commanded a drive he will never forget. In 2:49, Mayfield was 4-of-4 for 56-yards, positioning the Browns on the Jets one-yard line. Hyde capped the drive off with for a touchdown.
- Mayfield just does not play quarterback, he plays receiver too. Following Hyde’s first touchdown, the Browns were still down two points so a two-point conversion was necessary. The first attempt was canceled after a penalty. Then, the trickery happened.
- Mayfield walked towards Bitonio at the line of scrimmage and Duke Johnson lined up at quarterback. The ball was snapped to Johnson and handed off to Landry on the end around. Mayfield ran to the end zone uncovered and Landry found his quarterback for a two-point score. We now know who the Browns emergency quarterback is.
- The Jets responded with a field goal, regaining the lead. Throughout the whole night, Mayfield refused to give up.
- In 6:52, starting at their own 25-yard line, Mayfield drove down the field 75-yards, responding with a touchdown taking ahold of a 21-17 lead, securing the win.
- Once again the defense came up big with two consecutive turnovers, both interceptions.
- The Browns defense now has 11 turnovers on the season, an incredible turnaround from a year ago.
- Tonight was a very important game in Browns history. 32 losses in two years later, the Browns learned how to win again. It is no coincidence that the Browns won with a quarterback that only knows to win.
- There are not enough words that can be written to commend Mayfield’s performance, especially with the position he was put in. The dude balled out and stole the show.
- You could see it on the field when Mayfield came in the game, the stadium was electric. Part of the reason it was so dead was that of Taylor’s play but as soon as Mayfield came in, FirstEnergy Stadium became electric and all knew that he was going to find a way to win — because that what Mayfield does, he wins.
- As I tweeted out after the game, the tides have turned.
Tweets of the Night:
Nbd, just a Browns fan catching a possum tonight at the stadium pic.twitter.com/MxMWFWh4jS
— Busted Coverage (@bustedcoverage) September 21, 2018
This is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen.
According to a couple of team sources, #Browns RB Carlos Hyde is expecting the birth of his child any minute now. He’s expected to come straight to the stadium from hospital in time to play. I’m told labor was induced last night, so a potentially long & joyful day for the Hydes.
— Omar Ruiz (@OmarDRuiz) September 20, 2018
I mean this is just insane! Two touchdowns from Hyde was huge. What a day.
— Colleen Wolfe (@ColleenWolfeNFL) September 21, 2018
Joe Thomas is all of us.
You guys should this smile on Bakers face right now. He looks so damn confident.
— Dustin Fox (@DustinFox37) September 21, 2018
This is what I am talking about with Mayfield, he just has it. He has that IT factor.
It was amazing the see the attitude of the players celebrating and getting hype with Baker after he led them on that final FG drive. The kid is infectious. He has juice.
— Dustin Fox (@DustinFox37) September 21, 2018
Once again, there is just something about Mayfield. When he was under center, it felt like the Browns expected to win.
Biggest takeaway from Mayfield: zero hesitation, zero fear.
— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) September 21, 2018
Mayfield is just not an ordinary rookie.
— Lincoln Riley (@LincolnRiley) September 21, 2018
A cool message from Mayfield’s college head coach.
Mahomes. Mayfield. Ryan Fitzpatrick. the future is bright.
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) September 21, 2018
This gave me a good laugh.
A very, very smart NFL GM in another city told me a few weeks ago that the Browns have the talent to win eight or nine games. So if it's not the talent, what could be the problem? Oh. Oh right.
— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) September 21, 2018
Mayfield saved Hue Jackson’s ass tonight.
Baker wasn't even given the chance to compete for the starting job in training camp.
I mean, c'mon.
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) September 21, 2018
No words. #coaching
Baker Mayfield just ran over and told Tyrod Taylor, who was almost to the bench, that a Jets penalty kept the drive alive. Think Mayfield was first person on Browns sideline to see flag. He's into it.
— Doug Lesmerises (@DougLesmerises) September 21, 2018
This is really all you need to know.
Hey Tyrod… pic.twitter.com/A1MSlSx1yR
— Bearded Browns Fan (@Browns_Beard32) September 21, 2018
We’ll end on this one
Key Stats of the game:
- RB Carlos Hyde: 23 carries, 98 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns.
- WR Jarvis Landry:15 targets, 8 receptions, 103 receiving yards.
- DE Myles Garrett: 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss.
- DE Chris Smith: 3 tackles for loss.
- CB Denzel Ward: forced fumble/recovery, 4 tackles, sack.
- LB Joe Schobert: 4 tackles, interception, 2 passes defended.
- DT Larry Ogunjobi: 4 tackles, 2 tackles for loss.
- WR Antonio Callaway: 10 targets, 4 receptions, 20 receiving yards
- RB Nick Chubb: 2 carries, 6 yards.
- CB E.J. Gaines: 0 anything, but played.
Stock Up/Stock Down
- PLAYER OF THE GAME: QB Baker Mayfield. No comment necessary.
- CB Denzel Ward. The rookie cornerback continues to be incredible.
- DE Chris Smith. He was a factor all night against the Jets.
- RB Carlos Hyde. He provided the Browns with an explosive running game.
- WR Jarvis Landry. He just shows up and plays big time.
- QB Tyrod Taylor. The unfortunate injury will likely rightfully cost him his job.
- CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun. A year after being one of the NFL’s top nickel corners, Boddy-Calhoun has been absent.
- DT Trevon Coley. The Browns interior defensive line is getting no production outside of Larry Ogunjobi.
- LB Jamie Collins. Cleveland needs more from Collins because as of now, they are hardly getting anything.
- OT Chris Hubbard. His play was very poor against the Jets, causing a good amount of the offensive line woes.
An impressive win on all accounts for the Browns will bring big-time questions for the Browns. The answers to these questions should come easy, it is Mayfield’s team now. There is no going back.