A night that began with fans’ loud and persistent boos, ended with a city celebrating their win as if they won the Super Bowl.
The Cleveland Browns actually won a regular season game (no, this is not a drill) – their first in an astounding 635 days. Since the Browns last win in November of 2016, Donald Trump became president, Los Angeles gained two NFL teams, and thousands of Browns fans were forced to witness their team change quarterbacks six times.
Down fourteen, the first 27 minutes of Cleveland’s Thursday night game against the Jets seemed all too familiar. It wasn’t just that the Browns were down two touchdowns, they looked like a team lost and completely hopeless. Tyrod Taylor couldn’t find a rhythm and his teammates weren’t helping his cause, all while the chants for rookie backup quarterback, Baker Mayfield, were becoming more and more prevalent.
After a sack late in the second quarter that ended yet another abysmal drive, Tyrod Taylor headed to the locker room for concussion protocol, and the former Oklahoma Sooner and #1 overall pick got his chance. Following a quick Jets punt, Baker came out firing with dart after dart, igniting a previously lackluster Browns offense. He secured three points before halftime, and the fans couldn’t wait for what was to come.
Baker continued more of the same magic throughout the second half, leading his team to a game winning touchdown drive with just over two minutes left on the clock. Finishing the game 17-23 for 201 yards in just over a half of the game, Mayfield maintained complete command of the offense from the minute he took the field to the final kneel down; something that is incredibly uncommon for rookie quarterbacks. With all due respect to Tyrod Taylor, a very solid quarterback in his own right, Baker Mayfield single handedly brought hope back to football fans in the city of Cleveland.
Finally able to change fortunes with a single win at home against a below average Jets team, the Brownies and fans celebrated like they won the Super Bowl. Coming off two seasons with a combined 1-31 record and starting 0-1-1 with plenty of “Browns” type moments this season, the fan base had every right to enjoy themselves Thursday night. The Browns won, the free bud lights were aplenty, and the party was on because who really knows when they will be able to feel this again.
A Look Ahead: Next Five Games
9/30: @ Oakland Raiders
Coming off back to back losses to start the season, Jon Gruden’s team might be headed for a rebuild year.
10/7: VS Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens have been somewhat of a wild card, blowing the Bills out one week only to be thoroughly outplayed by the Bengals the next.
10/14: VS LA Chargers
The Chargers also have taken a step in both directions so far this season, annihilating the Bills following a comfortable loss to the Chiefs.
10/21: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The most pleasantly surprising team on this list, The Bucs have upset two of the NFC’s most dominant teams in New Orleans and Philadelphia.
10/28: @ Pittsburgh Steelers
Adding drama and chaos season after season, the Steelers surely have the skillset to redeem a sluggish 0-1-1 start to the season. Maybe this is the week Le’Veon Bell returns.