CLEVELAND -- Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield set lofty expectations for himself at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine when he said that if there was one player that could reverse the fortunes of the Cleveland Browns, it would be him.
And Mayfield has not disappointed.
While Mayfield has started just two NFL regular-season games and played in only three overall, he has engineered more than a dozen scoring drives and led the team to a pair of victories, both of which were come-from-behind efforts.
“When I first saw the video of him dancing when he was in college at OU, that is when I knew that Baker was a different breed,” running back Carlos Hyde said.
“He is not like most quarterbacks. He has some swag to him. I love it, especially from the quarterback position. I say that because of the way he plays and the way he carries himself -- a guy who has been here and done it before like it is nothing new to him.”
In just his second NFL start, Mayfield overcame an early interception to complete 25 of his 43 attempts for 342 yards with one touchdown and the turnover on the way to an 81.7 quarterback rating in a 12-9 win over the Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium last Sunday.
Late in the overtime, the Ravens brought a heavy rush, but Mayfield withstood the pressure and found wide receiver Derrick Willies over the middle of the field for a completion. Willies utilized his speed to break free from Baltimore’s defense and gain 39 yards.
“Baker was really solid in his first start at home,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “He handled the environment really well. He has great trust in his receivers, and they have great trust in him. That is something that we can continue to build on as we continue to move forward.”
Including last week’s win over the Ravens, Mayfield completed 63 of his 107 attempts (58.9 percent) for 838 yards and three touchdowns against three interceptions over his first three NFL regular-season games. Additionally, Mayfield rushed for 31 yards on eight carries and caught a two-point conversion pass from wide receiver Jarvis Landry in a 21-17 win over the New York Jets last month.
Jackson believes Mayfield’s presence has been part of what has been a catalyst for change: a mindset that no deficit is too great to overcome.
“There is no question he has a lot to do with it, but I think just the team in general,” Jackson said. “I think that has just been everybody’s mindset, that we are willing to do whatever it takes to get this organization where it needs to be and to win football games. I think to a man, nobody ever worries about the situation we are in. We are just going to play it through.
“They have been really gritty, really resilient and really hard-working. I think when you do those things, it is hard to ever give up in a game because you always feel like you have a chance to win. I think that is where Baker has stepped in because I think there is a belief in what he does. I think there is a belief in how he goes about his work and his business as the quarterback of this football team. I think it is all working together.”
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