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Baker Mayfield’s relief appearance against New York Jets changed everything for Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield led a comeback for the ages in a relief appearance against New York Jets last September.

CLEVELAND — The last time the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets met in a prime time game, something special happened for the organization, its players and coaches, and most especially, the capacity crowd at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland last September.

After 18 losses and one tie since their Christmas Eve victory over the San Diego Chargers in the second-to-last week of the 2016 regular season, the Browns fought their way to a 21-17 come-from-behind victory over the Jets on Thursday Night Football and the comeback was led by none other than then-rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, who got his first game action in the NFL that night.

“The energy in our stadium,” Mayfield said of what he remembers from that first regular-season appearance of his career.”

Credit: AP
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws during the first half in an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

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Down by a 14-0 count early in the second quarter, the Browns scored 21 of the game’s final 24 points to close out their first September win since a 28-14 decision over the Tennessee Titans on September 20, 2015.

With quarterback Tyrod Taylor suffering an injury in the first half, Mayfield was pressed into service, but he responded to the challenge and completed 17 of his 23 throws for 201 yards, and more importantly, engineered four scoring drives to complete the comeback.

Credit: AP
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) throws against the New York Jets during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

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Also, Mayfield caught a two-point conversion pass from wide receiver Jarvis Landry after one of the Browns’ touchdown drives.

“I remember the camera zooms to Baker and Baker’s snapping his helmet on and he runs in there,” receiver Odell Beckham Jr. recalled. “I’m at home, and I can feel the crowd from my house. I get chills thinking about it. I could feel it. The first play, he goes in there and throws I think it was a seam to Jarvis and the stadium erupts.

“From that moment on, that’s how it happens. One man goes down, the next man has an opportunity. When you have that opportunity, you take it and run with it. I don’t think he’s turned back since that day.

“I remember watching the game. I remember him coming in, getting his first win, and really looking very, very good driving the team up and down the field. I definitely remember that.”

Credit: Matt Florjancic
Quarterback Baker Mayfield throws a pass down the field in the individual period of Cleveland Browns practice in Berea on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019.

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After taking over the first-team offense in the second quarter of that Week 3 win over the Jets, Mayfield completed 310 of his 486 attempts (63.8 percent) for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns against 14 interceptions.

For his efforts, Mayfield earned Pro Bowl alternate status and was a finalist for the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.

“He is relentless,” Kitchens said of Mayfield. “He is a competitor. He just competes.

“May not always know the talking back then, did not really know what the reads were and stuff like that, but he just made stuff happen. One of the best things that I can say about a person is just being a relentless competitor, and I think that is what he is.

“Anytime you can win at home, that is a good thing. It brings excitement back to the city and all those sorts of things. I do not know what else to say about it. It is big because you are coming off a 1-15 year and a 0-16 year, and then, you win a game the third game of the year. It is huge.”

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