CLEVELAND — Breshad Perriman’s professional career had been a struggle through three seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, so much so that the team cut ties with the former first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft before his rookie contract expired.
But since joining the Browns as a free agent prior to a Week 6 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, Perriman has found a place within Cleveland’s offense stretching opposing defenses with his speed and route-running capabilities.
“It’s a total blessing,” Perriman said. “I thank God every day for the Browns and being a part of this organization. I had a rough year last year, and now, I got the time to start over here. I’ve been enjoying my teammates and have just been enjoying the whole process here. I’m just happy and thankful.
“I just stayed, prayed up and just went out there and worked hard and just focused.”
Perriman repaid the Browns’ faith in his playmaking skills with a two-catch, 81-yard showing in Sunday’s 26-20 victory over the Carolina Panthers, a win that kept Cleveland “in the hunt” for the postseason in the AFC.
“I am happy that we have him,” wide receiver Jarvis Landry said.
“Since he has gotten here, he has been making plays for us -- the first play of the game, the big second down. He is making those plays, and he has consistently done it. We are going to need guys like him to build this thing to get it to where we want to go.”
Quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Browns literally came out firing against the Panthers.
On their first play of the game, the Browns faced a first-and-10 from the Cleveland 25-yard line, but Mayfield took a snap under center, faked a handoff to running back Nick Chubb and rocketed the ball down the numbers on the left side of the field, where Perriman had gotten behind the coverage of Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson.
Perriman secured the catch at the Carolina 19-yard line and stumbled his way to another 10 yards before being brought down inside the 10.
Two plays later, Landry ran in for the touchdown from three yards out.
“I didn’t know for a fact that it was coming to me, but I knew there was a chance,” Perriman said. “Me and Bake talked about it before.
“They just told me ‘to run and haul ass,’ so that’s what I did. I’m thankful I made that catch. With the other one during the game, I saw that the tight end was covered up, so I was just trying to work over there. Baker Mayfield with his vision saw me open and threw it to me for the catch.”
With the Browns trying to wear out the clock late in the fourth quarter, Mayfield rolled to his right when the pocket collapsed and threw a pass toward Perriman along the sideline. The fourth-year receiver pulled in the reception for a 15-yard gain, as well as a first-down.
The Browns burned another 1:24 off the clock because of Perriman’s catch and gave Carolina the ball with just 1:04 remaining in regulation.
“He stretches the field,” Mayfield said.
“He has elite speed to be able to get past the corners and stretch the safeties. It has been great for us to be able to have that great deep option to where people have to be on notice. They have to cover it deep. If they cover him up, then we take our shots underneath. If not, we are letting it go to him.”