CLEVELAND – The Browns may be off today after kicking off Week Three with a thrilling 21-17 win over the Jets on Thursday, but they’re still in headlines ahead of Sunday’s NFL action.
That’s because according to a report from Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, the team is set to name rookie QB Baker Mayfield their new starter under center. Head Coach Hue Jackson is expected to officially make the announcement on Monday after he meets with Mayfield and Taylor. Jackson gave his team the weekend off following Thursday’s game.
Mayfield made his unexpected NFL debut in the win after Tyrod Taylor suffered a concussion late in the second quarter. To that point, Taylor had struggled, completing just four of his 14 passes for 19 yards as the Browns were getting shutout 14-0.
That changed immediately once Mayfield took over. On his first series, he moved the offense into field goal range and got the Browns on the board heading into the half. The No. 1 overall pick proceeded to lead Cleveland on a memorable comeback in the second half, leading three consecutive scoring drives to grab a 21-17 lead late in the fourth quarter. The defense did the rest and Mayfield’s comeback turned into the franchise’s first win since Dec. of 2016.
Mayfield finished the game 17-of-23 passing, for 201 yards. The most memorable play of his night was catching a crucial two-point conversion attempt in the third quarter to tie the game at 14. The play mimicked the Philadelphia Eagles now famous “Philly Special,” which helped them win the Super Bowl back in February.
After the game, Jackson was reluctant to name declare Mayfield the starter out of respect for Taylor, who had been put in the concussion protocol. It was also reported Sunday morning that Taylor will clear the protocol by Monday, just in time to find out he has lost his job to Mayfield.
While Jackson said he needed to “watch the tape” before making his decision, even he couldn’t contain his excitement over Mayfield’s performance, particularly in regards to his ability to instantly re-energize the team upon taking over.
“That is why we drafted him,” Jackson said. “We drafted him for that reason. He has that magnetism. He has it. He is still a young player. He has a lot of work to do. He has got to keep working. Tonight is his night. It was his coming out party.”
Jackson’s gushing continued on Friday via conference call.
“It was as good as I thought live,” the Browns head man said. “[Mayfield] made some tremendous throws. Obviously, he was able to move the team. Played with some rhythm. Got the ball into the playmakers’ hands and gave them chances to make plays. There are some things that he has to clean up obviously.
“I think that you guys all feel good about where things are headed, so let’s just wait and see and go from there.”
NEO Sports Insiders Newsletter
Sign up to receive our NEOSI newsletter, and keep up to date with all the latest Cleveland sports news.