Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield 2021 projection
Cleveland Browns franchise quarterback Baker Mayfield took some big steps in year one under head coach Kevin Stefanski. So what could year two entail?
The Cleveland Browns saw some serious growth from quarterback Baker Mayfield this past season and that makes looking forward to the next year that much more exciting.
To project what we could see in 2021 from our young gunslinger, we must look back at what took place in 2020.
Let’s dive right into the early part of the campaign.
Weeks 1 through Week 6 in 2020
Mayfield was a rollercoaster ride through the first six weeks of 2020. His performance in week one against the Ravens reminded a lot of fans and media of 2020 Baker. We all saw the missed and forced throws that came to be the norm under Freddie Kitchens the year before.
He ended that first week with a 65.0 quarterback rating, and the Browns lost 38-6. Certainly, not the showing Baker or anyone else wanted in week one. But Mayfield and the Browns would bounce back and win the next four games.
Over that four-game stretch, Mayfield played very well based on his numbers. He would complete nearly 64 percent of his passes, throwing with touchdowns and three interceptions. The numbers were solid, but over that stretch, the ground game averaged 201 yards per game. That took a ton of pressure off him and covered up some of his bad play mixed in with the great play. Then came game five.
The Browns and Baker went to Heinz field against the at the time undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. Mayfield had just come off a mixed bag game against the Colts with a great first half of football that put the Browns ahead at the half against one of the top defenses in the league.
However, he would then crash hard to earth in the second half with two interceptions that let the Colts make the game closer than it should have been. So which Baker Mayfield would show up at Heinz?
Well, the answer became clear quickly during the first offensive drive of the game. Baker stepped back to throw a pass over the middle and was picked off by Minkah Fitzpatrick, who then took it 33 yards for a touchdown. After that, Mayfield was sacked four times and threw another pick to end the day with a 54.6 quarterback rating in the 38-7 blowout.
The narrative was about as easy to come up with as it could be at that point. Baker could play well and beat the bad teams but doesn’t have it against the great teams. As a result, the Browns will never win big with him at the helm.
Then something happened in week seven and beyond that has every Browns fan excited about 2021.