BALTIMORE, MD – One week after being dragged on social media by trolls and rival fans, as well as lampooned by “experts” in the national media, the Cleveland Browns shut both of them up with a much-needed 40-25 win over the hated Baltimore Ravens.
They say that the NFL is a what-have-you-done-for-me lately league, in the case of second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield—who was heavily criticized, as well as called “overrated” by former Buffalo Bills and New York Jets coach-turned ESPN hack, Rex Ryan—completed 20-of-30 passes for 342 yards and one touchdown, one week after failing to score from the one-yard line and most notably failing to see a wide open hole vs. the Los Angeles Rams.
Aside from the one interception that he threw, Mayfield finally began to look and play like the Baker that so many Browns fans have fallen proverbially head over heels with in stepping into his throws and not bailing on plays so quickly. Mayfield didn’t look tentative or inaccurate, but more like the decisive and accurate Mayfield of old.
Second-year running back Nick Chubb did his best Jim Brown impression in rushing for 165 yards against the league’s third-ranked rushing defense including a 88-yard gallop after the Ravens closed the Browns lead to six and 24-18 following a Lamar Jackson touchdown pass—and successful two-point conversion by RB Mark Ingram II—to TE Mark Andrews with 9:51 left. Going into the game, Chubb had just 58 carries for 233 yards and one touchdowns, the former Georgia Bulldog star nearly doubled his season total on Sunday.
Perhaps the biggest star on Sunday was Jarvis Landry, who caught a career-best 167 yards receiving on eight catches before leaving the game with a concussion before leaving while BFF in WR Odell Beckham Jr has two catches for 20 yards. One cannot also be note that the unsung hero on Sunday was tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, who caught a key 59-yard reception, finished with 82 yards receiving and one touchdown.
In watching the game, you could see that Cleveland came out with a chip on their shoulder, as they lost in bitter fashion to the defending AFC North champions in the regular-season finale, 26-24, looked to be on a mission to settle some unfinished business in locking down Jackson in forcing him into three turnovers including two interceptions and a fumble.
For the game, the former 2016 Heisman Trophy winner went 24 of 34 for 247 yards and three scores passing and 66 yards rushing, but much of those yards came with the game already decided.
Perhaps this Browns team needs a little outside noise to get them motivated. Much like their performance vs. the New York Jets following their embarrassing loss to the Tennessee Titans in the home opener, the Browns need to learn and play better with more consistency. How they handle criticism and responding to the naysayers will go a long way in how successful in 2019, but in a week in which they were called out by those in the national media and left for dead by many, the Browns showed that these dogs have plenty of fight left and will not roll over for anyone.