The Baker Mayfield era in Cleveland has come to an abrupt end this past week. The former number one overall pick was sent to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional fifth-round draft pick. For four years, he was the signal-caller in Cleveland and rang in a new era of competitive Browns football. From the moment he was drafted until this past season, Baker was always the big talking point in Cleveland.
Some had his back and crowned him a franchise quarterback, while others quickly criticized his arrogance and shortcomings. Regardless of how you felt, he made football fun in Cleveland again. Here are my top five games from the past four seasons.
5. at Tennessee, Week 13, 2020
Baker "Dangerous" Mayfield, already has 4 TDs and over 30 points against the 8-3 #Titanspic.twitter.com/7zaXeppJ66 — Pro Football Network (@PFN365) December 6, 2020
The first half of this Titans game from Week 13 of the 2020 season was electric. Heading into this match, the Browns were 8 – 3, but many critics were not giving the team credit for being “playoff caliber.” Many didn’t think they could keep up with the Tennessee Titans. Five first-half touchdowns quickly changed that tune. Four of which came from the hand of Baker Mayfield.
4. Baltimore, Week 14, 2020
Week 14 of the 2020 season was set up to be a historic matchup. Monday Night Football and the Cleveland Browns enter the week with a 9 – 3 record. The game lived up to all the hype, with the Ravens and Browns battling back and forth until the last second. The game was genuinely primetime television.
December 14, 2020: Baltimore #Ravens defeated the Cleveland Browns in a memorable MNF thriller that featured the most combined RUSH TD (9) during 1 game in NFL history & Lamar Jackson returning from cramps in the 4th Qtr to lead Baltimore's GWD pic.twitter.com/IuN2qOu4hs — Pro Sports Outlook (@PSO_Sports) December 14, 2021
3. at Cinncinatti, Week 7, 2020
Week 7 of the 2020 NFL season looked like a potentially outstanding Browns team unraveling. Early in the game, Baker Mayfield throws an interception, and Odell Beckham Jr tears his ACL making the tackle. The Bengals took a 17 – 10 lead into halftime, and many in Cleveland were thinking, here come the same old Browns. However, Baker Mayfield came out in the second half and completed 16 straight completions to lead the Browns to a comeback win against division foe Cinncinatti.
#Browns Top 10 Plays of 2020‼️#1️⃣: Baker Mayfield hits Donovan Peoples-Jones with a Game-Winning 𝘿𝙞𝙢𝙚 vs the #Bengals in Week 7. 💎🧨#NFL @bakermayfield @dpeoplesjones pic.twitter.com/vDZabeKSL5 — The Hottest Take (@Hottest_TakePod) March 6, 2021
2. Jets, Week Three, 2018
Nineteen straight games without a win. That was the streak for the Cleveland Browns as they entered a 2018 Week 3 matchup on Thursday Night Football with the New York Jets. Tyrod Taylor started another game as fans cried to watch first-rounder Baker Mayfield take the field against fellow first-rounder Sam Darnold.
Those wishes were granted as Tyrod went down with an injury giving Baker his debut under the bright lights of the city of Cleveland. And what a night it was! Baker finished with a passer rating of 100, leading Cleveland to its first win in nearly two years.
Cleveland #Browns defeat the New York #Jets 21-17, to snap a 19 game winless streak. Carlos Hyde rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield entered the game for the injured Tyrod Taylor towards the end of the first half. pic.twitter.com/FnCGta3qtl — The 3 Point Conversion (@3ptCnvrsn) September 21, 2018
1. at Pittsburgh, Wildcard, 2020 Playoffs
The 2020 season was unique, with COVID running rampant throughout the country, and the NFL was just piecing together a season one week at a time. Easily the most memorable game in the Baker Mayfield era occurred on a cold January night in Pittsburgh. The Cleveland Browns beat the back-up led Steelers in the season’s final week to secure this playoff matchup.
Throwback to the @Browns playoff win against the Steelers. It was their first Playoff victory in 26 years. Enjoy all the Browns' touchdowns. 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈 pic.twitter.com/sBA3KVADCY — NFL UK (@NFLUK) May 28, 2021
Then the news came during the week that head coach Kevin Stefanski would be missing the came due to COVID. No one gave the Browns any shot at winning this game. Despite this, the Cleveland Browns won their first playoff game in over two decades.
Thank you, Baker. Thank you for giving life back to Cleveland Browns football for the past few years. Thank you for getting us back to playoff wins and being in the conversation of competitive teams. Thank you for making Sundays optimistic again. We wish you all the best in Carolina, just not on September 11th.