What little grass is visible underneath the fallen leaves and morning frost seemed a little greener. Coffee, the warm and caffeinated goodness, hit the soul a little softer this morning. And despite our better judgments, I think we all woke up feeling a bit more dangerous today than yesterday.
“When I woke up this morning, I was feeling pretty dangerous” – @bakermayfield
— Bleacher Report NFL (@BR_NFL) November 11, 2018
Victory Mondays as Browns fans have been few and far between, but we can all agree they seem much more likely than in the past. A regrettable stat mentioned and met with derision in our WFNY Slack,1 2018 will be the first season Cleveland has won at least three games since 2015. While that might not seem like too long ago, that was two head coaches ago, a season where Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel each started at least six games. Things are definitely headed in a different direction now.
On the fringes of a playoff bid,2 games like Sunday’s have a way of instilling confidence in rosters and fans alike. A complete game on both sides of the ball ending in a decisive victory over a quality opponent is something we are used to hearing from the other guys.3 A near-perfect effort from quarterback Baker Mayfield that saw nine receivers catch passes with only Jarvis Landry and Mayfield himself miss on targets thrown to them. An incredibly efficient 17-of-20 for 216 yards and three touchdowns, Mayfield didn’t light up the scoreboard like his peers at the position, but he did just enough and did it well. It should be noted that while the yardage total is lower than most, Mayfield started out the game a house on fire. His first incompletion came with 11:14 remaining…in the third quarter. Of course, when you have a running back like Nick Chubb, you don’t need to or even want to throw the ball all over the field.
Nick Chubb with the longest run in Cleveland Browns history.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) November 11, 2018
Chubb went over 200 yards of total offense for the first time in his short career,4 while also securing the longest touchdown run of any Brown ever. Seemingly immune to arm tackles, Chubb brushes off contact with ease and is one of the best in the league at yards after contact running. The decision to move on from Carlos Hyde and give the ball to Nick Chubb and fellow dynamo Duke Johnson obviously has paid dividends in the win column.
The offense wasn’t the only thing clicking against the Falcons. The bend-but-don’t-break of the defense gets worrisome at times, but when it matters the most, they come up big. In the span of two drives in the fourth quarter, the Cleveland D kept the Matt Ryan led offense out of the endzone for seven straight plays. The “streak” was only to be bested by a “God I hope this works” heave by Ryan, forced out of the pocket being chased by two Browns linemen, to tight end Austin Hooper that would have been stopped at the two if not for a bad angle and the fact that Hooper has four inches and 40lbs on defender Jabrill Peppers. You’ll forgive Peppers for being aggressive however, especially when he’s delivering hits like this to save touchdowns.
— austin (@HanDoloDoIo) November 11, 2018
After all Cleveland football has gone through, the endless litany of horrible occurrences and tanking and coaching hires and fires and draft pick busts and just all around god awful play…today just feels great. Victory Mondays make the week start off better. This roster, full of youth and vigor and actual players, has the chance of providing us with not only hope but many more Victory Mondays to come.