The Cleveland Browns found the face of their franchise back in the 2018 NFL draft. Here are Baker Mayfield's top five games of his career so far.
How will Baker Mayfield perform in season three with the Cleveland Browns? After a legendary rookie season, Mayfield found himself in the typical sophomore slump in 2019. As this long offseason drags on, fans all across the NFL will be watching, waiting to see how Baker Mayfield performs in 2020.
Can Mayfield return to his rookie year self? Or was his woes in 2019 something more than just a sophomore slump? These questions can all be answered by just turning on the tape.
With no professional sports going on at the moment in the United States, it is a pretty boring time for sports fans. With all this extra time, fans can solve these questions for themselves by turning on some tape and watching for themselves.
If you're looking to re-live some of Baker's greatest games and see what makes him such a special player, then look no further. Here is a list of Baker's five greatest games in a Cleveland Browns uniform, along with one extra honorable mention.
Mayfield's performances like the ones that will follow are why he has the potential to be a top-five quarterback in the NFL. When No. 6 is playing at his best, the Cleveland Browns usually are too.
Everything next season will run through him. The Browns organization has geared this team to go as far as Baker takes them, and if the Baker Mayfield that shows up is the one in these following games, then the Browns are going to be elite.
With all that being said, let's take a look at the honorable mention games that didn't make the list, but Mayfield deserves some serious praise for playing lights out in.
Honorable Mention: November 10th, 2019. Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns, Browns win 19-16
The Browns walked into this game at an underwhelming 3-6, facing a 6-3 Buffalo Bills squad with a top-three defense in the NFL. The Bills defense gave up an average of just 16.2 points per game in 2019, which is an insane number in today's high paced NFL. The Browns had their hands full with the Buffalo Bills, and quarterback Baker Mayfield showed up ready to play.
Mayfield would help the Browns win this game by completing 26 of his 38 passing attempts, a solid 68.4 percent of his passes, for 238 yards and two touchdowns. Most people remember this game for the Browns woes on the goal line, as they had eight straight plays from the one-yard line and couldn't score.
People don't remember how well Baker played. He was able to connect with Jarvis Landry on a 17-yard touchdown in the first quarter to give the team a seven to nothing lead.
Later in the fourth quarter, with a minute and 44 seconds left on the clock, Baker was then able to find wide receiver Rashard Higgins for a seven-yard touchdown, giving the Browns a three-point lead after Austin Seibert nailed the extra point.
Games like this are the type of performances that the Browns need to see out of Baker moving forward. The team wasn't able to put up a lot of points on the board, but the defense played well, and Baker was able to do just enough to win.
Honorable Mention: December 9th, 2018. Carolina Panthers @ Cleveland Browns, Browns win 26-20
This was the first of the three games the Browns won on their winning streak that sparked the hope into fans that the team could make a run and sneak in the playoffs. While the Browns fell one game short to making the playoffs that season, Baker Mayfield played some of his best football so far during that stretch.
Against the Carolina Panthers, Mayfield went on to complete 18 of his 22 passes, an amazing 82 percent, along with netting 238 passing yards and a touchdown. While he didn't throw for a ton of yards or drop several touchdowns, Mayfield played at an elite level of efficiency and had nearly a perfect game. The Browns only had 52 snaps on offense during the whole course of the game, and almost every time it was up to Baker to make a play, he made it.
His best play of the game came on a 51-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jarvis Landry to tie the game back up 14-14 in the 2nd quarter. From then on, the Panthers dominated the game in terms of ball possession, and the Browns would hit 4 more field goals to win the game 26-20. On those field goals, Mayfied=ld did a great job of leading the offense and driving down the field. The team found itself in positions where they just couldn't finish.
Baker's almost 11 yards per passing attempt in the game, along with his almost 82 percent completion percentage are veteran type numbers. The Browns will find themselves in games like this where they only get the ball for 52 snaps, compared to the Panthers who got it 74 times.
When you're at a disadvantage in opportunities with the football, you have to be efficient and make the most of your opportunities. This version of Baker Mayfield, efficient with a lower volume of attempts, is the one that I expect to see in 2020.
5. September 29th, 2019. Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens, Browns win 40-25
Many fans remember this game for a plethora of reasons. This was the game that made it feel like 2019 was the year the Browns were going to finally turn it all around.
This was the game that the Browns pulverized the Ravens, and showed the rest of the division that they were going to be a legit threat to win the AFC North. This was also the game that Nick Chubb and Jarvis Landry balled out, each dropping 160+ yards and having Chubb score 3 touchdowns.
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While he only threw one touchdown and an interception to match, don't let those numbers fool you. Mayfield's elite accuracy and ability to throw the ball downfield were a huge part of the Browns being able to secure that win.
The young quarterback was able to kick start the game with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Seals-Jones and would later connect with Jarvis Landry for a 65-yard completion that would set up the Browns with a field goal, giving them a 10-7 lead over the Ravens.
Then, another 59-yard completion to Ricky Seals-Jones would put the Browns in the red zone. The rest is history as Nick Chubb took over that game, scoring three touchdowns, including a 14 yard run after the Ricky Seals-Jones completion and an 88-yard touchdown run on a beautifully designed pin and pull.
This is the best game to go back and watch regardless of who you're trying to evaluate on the Browns roster. The Browns went up against the third-best defense in the NFL, as the Ravens only allowed 17.2 points per game in 2019. Not only did they score over 17.2 points, they more than doubled that amount. Hopefully, the Browns will be able to rekindle this magic in 2020, as this was surely the best game the team had played in years.
4. December 23rd, 2018. Cincinnati Bengals @ Cleveland Browns, Browns win 26-18
This was the Browns' last win of the 2018 season and Baker Mayfield put on a show for fans to enjoy at home. Though the Bengals at this point were all but done for their season, the Browns were fighting for a chance to make the playoffs.
Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns put down a beatdown on the Cincinnati Bengals, taking a 23-0 lead heading into the 4th quarter. While the Bengals almost came back, their 18 points late in the game were no match for the Browns.
Baker Mayfield was able to complete 27 of his 37 passes in this game for a solid 284 yards, and three touchdowns. His almost 73 percent completion percentage was yet another example of Baker playing at an elite level of efficiency. He and the Browns offense started slowly in the first quarter, but by the second quarter, they were ready to roll.
Mayfield threw three touchdown passes, two of which came in the second quarter. The first was a three-yard touchdown pass to David Njoku, which was then followed up by a one-yard pass to Darren Fells.
After that, he would find Rashard Higgins for a 17-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter. Baker's performance in this game showed why he was the number one overall pick in the draft and made Browns fans question the previous head coach even more for not playing him right away.
If Baker would've been able to notch a performance like this in either of the first two games, then the team could've been looking at a different story for the season. It's always a pain to play the what-if game, but if he could've put up a performance like this in week one against the Steelers, the team might have continued playing in January.
3. November 24th, 2019. Miami Dolphins @ Cleveland Browns, Browns win 41-24
Looking for something quick to watch? Here's the game for you. Despite the score, this was a blowout. The Browns were up 28-0 at the half, and Baker Mayfield played lights out in the first half. In the 2nd half? The team took their foot off the pedal. Hopefully, we won't see that happen when they get in a situation like this in 2020, as that almost cost them the game.
Against the Miami Dolphins, Baker Mayfield completed 24 of his 34 passes, a solid 70 and a half percent, along with 327 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception. The Dolphins were not a good football team last season. They had the 32nd ranked defense and allowed 30.9 points per game. Compared to other opponents on this list, they were the worst team to be mentioned so far and probably the worst team on this list.
That doesn't take away from the fact that Baker Mayfield absolutely tore them apart. If the Browns wanted to, they probably could've dropped 60+ points in this game. On three of the Cleveland Browns first four drives, Baker threw a touchdown pass.
He opened up the game with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Jarvis Landry. On the third drive, he was able to connect with Odell Beckham Jr for a 35-yard touchdown pass. Then at the top of the 2nd quarter, he connected with Jarvis Landry again, this time for a five-yard touchdown pass.
This game was a highlight reel for the Browns and Baker Mayfield. Near the end of the first half, Kareem Hunt was also able to punch the football in the endzone with a six-yard touchdown run. The Browns were favored by 11 walking into the game and were able to cover that and keep it covered almost the entire game. This was a fun one to watch, as the Browns have been on the other side of this type of game more often than fans would like to remember.
2. November 11th, 2018. Atlanta Falcons @ Cleveland Browns, Browns win 28-16.
To continue on with a common theme of the games previously mentioned, Baker Mayfield played with elite efficiency in this game. Against a below-average Atlanta Falcons defense, who ranked 25th in the league that season, allowing 26.4 points per game, Baker had an absolute field day. Mayfield is at his best when he isn't forced to throw the ball 40 times a game. The Browns would only throw 20 passes this game, and he made the most out of each one.
On his 20 passing attempts, Mayfield completed 17 of them, an amazing 85 percent, netting 216 yards and three touchdowns. This was partnered with an absolutely monster game by Nick Chubb who had 209 total yards and two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving.
This was yet another game, like the Panthers game, where the Browns were at a severe disadvantage for offensive snaps. The Browns only got to touch the ball 53 times, while the Falcons got the ball for 75 snaps. However, Baker Mayfield and company took advantage of each drive they got, maximizing their touches.
Mayfield's first touchdown was one of the best throws I've seen an NFL quarterback make over the past two seasons. It was a 28-yard completion on the run to Rashard Higgins, and there are probably not 10 other quarterbacks in the NFL who could make that throw. You can watch it by clicking here. The next two would be a 13-yard touchdown pass to Nick Chubb near the end of the first half and an 11-yard touchdown pass to Duke Johnson at the start of the third quarter.
1. November 25th, 2018: Cleveland Browns @ Cincinnati Bengals, Browns win 35-20
This was the third most satisfying game for Browns fans to watch, only beaten by the Browns beatdown of the Ravens, and the Thursday night win over the Steelers. Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns were up against recently fired head coach Hue Jackson and his Cincinnati Bengals.
Every Browns player came into this game with a vendetta. Former Browns defensive back Damarious Randall even handed Hue Jackson the ball after intercepting a pass from Andy Dalton, which you can watch by clicking here. While many may remember the game for that, Baker Mayfield had an absolute field day against his former coach.
Mayfield completed 19 of his 26 passes for 256 yards and four touchdown passes, his 73 percent completion percentage ranks among the best of a single game in his NFL career so far. After being underutilized by Hue Jackson and his staff, Baker came out to prove them wrong for starting Tyrod Taylor over him, and he did just that.
Three of his four touchdown passes came in the first half, starting with a 13-yard touchdown pass to former wide receiver Antonio Callaway. After that, he was able to hit David Njoku on a six-yard touchdown pass at the beginning of the 2nd quarter, then a 14-yard touchdown pass to Nick Chubb to finish off his great half. After all of that, he was then able to also find the former tight end, Darren Fells, for a six-yard touchdown pass at the beginning of the 3rd quarter.
This game was a dominating victory for the Cleveland Browns and was the best I have seen Baker Mayfield play so far in a Browns uniform. From start to finish he was lights out. This is the Baker Mayfield the Browns should be hoping for in 2020, and this is the Baker Mayfield that I think they will get.
Mayfield is not a quarterback who is going to thrive off of putting the ball in the air 50 times a game. Coach Kevin Stefanski will put him in positions where he can throw the ball 20-30 times a game and be at his max efficiency.