OPINION: Browns win

Jake Adams

635 days. That’s how long since the Browns last won a regular season game.

Thursday night, they ended that drought in Cleveland and the Bud Light fridge doors were unlocked.

The game was a roller coaster for fans as they went into halftime down 14-3. Starting quarterback (perhaps?) Tyrod Taylor left the game with a concussion. Boos rained down from the stands, and it looked like the Browns were going to lose again.

First overall draft pick and quarterback Baker Mayfield, changed the atmosphere in the stadium. The offense started rolling down field and the points were going up on the scoreboard. Browns fans were hailing Baker as the “savior,” and I’m sure somewhere in Cleveland, a radio host is predicting Super Bowl ambitions. 

As a history teacher, it’s funny when I say history repeats itself, and that’s why it’s important to learn about it. Let me tell you: Cleveland fans are taking themselves down a slippery slope.

Hue Jackson said he has to “watch the film” before he can name a starter. Fans and media were ready to take Jackson’s job away from him because the Browns just won with Mayfield. Jackson is in one of the toughest positions in football.

For one, Taylor is a veteran of the league, well-respected and knocked around by every defense he faced. I know we all love offensive line coach Bob Wylie, but does he actually know how to teach blocking? Same with the running backs coach Freddie Kitchens because Carlos Hyde and Nick Chubb have failed with blitz protection. On top of that, offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s designed QB runs put even more hits on the mobile quarterback.

Second, Mayfield came into the game when it was a clear passing situation. Three minutes before half, down 14 points, the run game was out the window. What that means is the Jets sat back on their heels and let the rookie throw. In fairness, Baker threw the ball well, but how would he do with trying to develop a run game? Or when the blocking fails and three guys are in his face?

It’s easy to look at this game as a Browns comeback, but you could also say it was a Jets collapse. The play calling got too conservative, especially on defense. Jets quarterback Sam Darnold came back down to Earth after a 334-yard effort the previous week.

Let’s also not forget about this amazing Browns defense. Denzel Ward had a crucial strip that led to the Browns’ first touchdown. They also had two interceptions on the night; yet another all around solid performance from a clear Top-10 defense.

I’m not knocking Mayfield, but before Sherwin-Williams hangs a massive banner of him in downtown Cleveland, fans need to control their expectations, especially since Mayfield is most likely going to be the 30th starting quarterback for the Browns since 1999.

As I stated, history repeats itself.

The Browns starting a veteran quarterback week 1, and then the highly anticipated rookie finally comes in for fans, and they fall in love with him. Trent Dilfer to Charlie Frye. Derek Anderson to Brady Quinn.  Brian Hoyer to Johnny Manziel toRobert Griffin III to Cody Kessler.

Hue Jackson will have to face reporters and announce Mayfield as the starter. Whether that job is handed to Mayfield due to injury or poor performance is a question that needs answered.

The offensive line being able to keep any quarterback healthy is the most important question the Browns need to answer. Because every team now has film on Mayfield, just about every defensive coordinator is going to send seven guys at him every time he drops back. We have seen in previous weeks how this has put the quarterback constantly under pressure, even against a terrible Steelers defense.

Cleveland — enjoy the win, enjoy the free Bud Light and be hopeful. However, just remember to tame the expectations.

I say this knowing that is impossible.

Jake Adams is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].