CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the story above is from Jan. 3, 2021.
With the Cleveland Browns clinging to a 24-22 lead, quarterback Baker Mayfield lined up in the shotgun formation facing a third-and-2 at the Pittsburgh Steelers' 42-yard line with 1:10 seconds remaining in the game.
With Pittsburgh down to one timeout, a first down would not only win the game but end the NFL's longest active playoff drought (17 years). Meanwhile, a stop -- at the very least -- would force Cleveland head coach Kevin Stefanski to make the difficult decision to either go for it on fourth down and risk turning the ball over on downs or to punt the ball back to the Steelers while leading by less than a field goal.
As wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge ran behind him in motion, Mayfield sprinted to the right with running back Kareem Hunt serving as his lead blocker.Three yards later, Mayfield was sliding for a first down and the Browns were heading back to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
After the game, Mayfield revealed that he thought the initial play-call was a joke.
"I heard the play call when I was on the sideline and I was over with [backup quarterback] Case Keenum and he told me," Mayfield said. "I thought he was joking at first because I did not hear it well. We called it, and I said 'Let’s go do it. Obviously, whatever it takes.' It was a great call."
Typically, that's where this story would stop, except Browns guard Joel Bitonio revealed to Monday Morning Quarterback's Albert Breer that the name of the game-clinching play-call was "Maserati." As Eric Maroun noted on Twitter, that's awfully reminiscent of one of the analogies that Fox Sports' Colin Cowherd -- a noted Mayfield antagonist -- once used when to describe Mayfield.
"When you're a No. 1 pick, I want you to be a Maserati, not a Mazda," Cowherd said of Mayfield during a segment in August 2018. "Baker's a Mazda in the NFL. He looked overwhelmed, physically. He doesn't have a great arm."
While there's always a chance the name of the play might have been a coincidence, it seems unlikely. In the very same clip, Cowherd noted that Mayfield "couldn't out-run a lineman" -- a sentiment the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft disproved for at least one play on Sunday.