CLEVELAND, OH — Thanks to a clutch 39-yard pass to WR Derrick Willies in overtime, that set up a game-winning field goal, to borrow from the title of the upcoming Oscar-nominated Bradley Cooper-Lady Gaga film, but a star was born Sunday in Cleveland Browns quarterback, Baker Mayfield.
In his first home start as the snake-bitten franchise’s 30th since 1999, the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner out of Oklahoma showed why Browns general manager John Dorsey defined conventional wisdom is selecting Mayfield No.1 as he showed pinpoint accuracy, uncanny pocket awareness and a clutch gene not born of a Browns QB since Bernie Kosar as he carved up one of the NFL’s most traditionally stout defenses to the tune of 342 passing yards and one touchdown in a 12-9 nail biter win.
For so long, almost too long, there were the Tim Couch’s, Brady Quinn’s and Johnny Manziel’s that helped turn the once venerable and storied Cleveland Stadium into a graveyard of QB’s, hence the origin of the term, The Factory of Sadness, now thanks to Mayfield and his gunslinging, no-fear style of ball, it is now The Bakery.
And on Sunday, it served a nice fresh and warm serving of fresh crow for the Ravens to eat on their flight back to Baltimore.
For too long, Cleveland had to be reminded of what could have been in longtime tormentor, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco and even Andy Dalton, and for too long they made the Browns pay with gut-wrenching losses and salt getting kicked in their eye for years.
Now, it just feels different with Mayfield.
For the first time in 20 years, Browns fans can wake up and know who their QB is, and not worry about watching college football games on Saturday and reading draft sites like Walter Football and debate about who and why the Browns will draft such-and-such in April.
Now, Dawg Pound Nation can start a new tradition and worry about how late the Browns will draft and what skill position to take.
In what seemed to be both a fitting fashion and in pure poetic justice due to the weather on Sunday, Mayfield finally lifted the fog at QB and for the first time in eons, all is truly hot in Cleveland.