Five amazingly stupid myths about the Cleveland Browns
The east coast and west coast national media sites are united in their effort to bring you misinformation about your favorite sports team. So let’s clear up some Cleveland Browns myths
You would think that there is enough controversy in New York and Los Angeles by themselves so that it would not be necessary for the national media to invent false narratives about the Cleveland Browns.
Nevertheless, it seems as though they love to present misleading if not downright inaccurate reports about your favorite team. But never fear, Your intrepid reports at Dawg Pound Daily are always vigilant and ready to set the record straight.
Similarly, Fox Sports is headquartered in the beautiful Westwood region of Los Angeles, California where there is a story breaking every 15 minutes. The press was so mean they managed to chase the Rams out of Los Angeles once, only to have them return. They also chased the Chargers out of Los Angeles in 1961 to become the San Diego Chargers, only to them return also. The Raiders played in Los Angeles from 1982 to 1994, only to flee back to Oakland, at least temporarily. So Fox should be able to keep itself busy.
Nevertheless, the national sports media seems to take a special pleasure in presenting a distorted version of reality concerning the Cleveland Browns. Here we have listed five of the most inaccurate and distorted realities that are making the rounds about the Browns.
This is not an exhaustive list. Readers are invited to identify additional myths and their source, if possible, in the comments below.
Cleveland Browns Myth No. 5: Baltimore always shuts down Baker Mayfield
This wonderful myth was mainly started by Colin Cowherd, the entertaining and controversial host of the Herd, who may be still struggling to live down the fact that he fell in love with Sam Darnold in the 2018 draft, proclaiming him the savior of the moribund New York Jets (“Congratulations to the New York Jets! They got their dude!”) and at the same time proclaiming Baker Mayfield to be undraftable.
Cowherd has never forgiven Mayfield for completely outperforming his boy. Let’s consider what happened the first time Baltimore shut down Mayfield, in the third game of his career in 2018.
First of all, readers of this space realize that this reporter has great respect for the players of the Ravens, especially Lamar Jackson, coach John Harbaugh, general manager Ozzie “The Wizard” Newsome, and many in the organization.
But I despise Arthur Bertram Modell for his decision to move the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore. I further deplore his decisions to fire Marty Schottenheimer and Paul Brown and trade Paul Warfield and force Jim Brown into early retirement. I root against the team, but I do not hate the players or coaches as individuals.
Moreover, a little friendly debate between Westwood, California, and Cleveland, Ohio is not a bad thing. Fundamentally, we are all just people who like to talk about sports. I really do not believe that Colin Cowherd hates Cleveland and Baker Mayfield so much as he loves to start a debate. Ditto for Bristol, Connecticut, and Stephen A. Smith, who is not nearly as wild and crazy in real life as he comes across. Okay, guys, you’re on.
If you close your eyes, you can probably imagine Cowherd’s accusing voice as he acts as the prosecuting attorney. “Mayfield is never going to be an elite quarterback until he proves he can beat Baltimore, or at least proves he can prove he can throw for 300 yards against them. So when is it going to happen, Mayfield? How long is it going to be, huh? What do you have to say about that?”
Well, sorry to disappoint Mr. Cowherd, but the fact of the matter is that Mayfield did beat the Ravens the first time he saw them. In fact, he passed them silly, going for 342 yards. In fact, it was the only game he won for Hue Jackson as a starting quarterback (he also beat the Jets in relief of Tyrod Taylor).
So it wasn’t that he could beat other teams but not the Ravens. The opposite was true. He only beat the Ravens for Hue, in the 12-9 overtime affair, on the 52-yard field goal by Greg Joseph, which was partially tipped and yet somehow fluttered like a Phil Niekro knuckleball over the goalpost.
Baltimore “shut down” Mayfield in their second meeting in 2018, as he torched the Ravens for 376 yards passing but did turn the ball over three times on interceptions. Still, throwing for 376 yards against a playoff team is not half bad for a rookie. There’s nothing there that would make you throw up your hands in disgust. Unless of course, you work for ESPN or FOX Sports.
The Sub-Myth is that Mayfield only had easy victories as a starter for Hue Jackson and never beat Baltimore or Pittsburgh. The fact is that Baltimore is the only team that Mayfield beat as Hue Jackson’s starter, and the lowest yardage total he posted in 2018 against them was 342 yards.
2019 was the Ravens’ greatest year, at least for the regular season. They went 14-2, scoring a million points (well, 531) and gave up only 232, with Lamar Jackson taking home the MVP trophy after chucking 36 TD passes and rushing for seven more, adding a record 1,206 rushing yards in the process. But they did lose two games.
Mahomes and the Chiefs beat them once. The other loss was against — who? That’s right, the Cleveland Browns. Again, Mayfield went over 300 yards passing — 342 to be exact (by coincidence, the same total as the previous year’s low) as the Browns ambushed Baltimore, ringing up 40 points against them. The Browns won the game. They scored 40 points. Mayfield threw for 342 yards. How is that Mayfield choking against Baltimore?
By the 2019 rematch, John Harbaugh and the Ravens had the answer to the Todd Monken and Freddie Kitchens offense, and the Ravens soundly beat the Browns, 31-15, and Mayfield threw for only 192 yards with one TD and an INT.
In 2020, with no exhibition games due to Covid-19, and a curtailed summer camp, the Browns had to install a new offense under Kevin Stefanski and Alex Van Pelt. Baker will never use lack of practice as an excuse. However, that is the job of the media, and I am here to tell you that it was impossible to be in mid-season form in the opening game.
That should be obvious to everyone between Los Angeles and Bristol, Connecticut. Baltimore totally dominated the Browns, 38-6, and Mayfield had a terrible game. He had 189 yards and an interception. Do you want to use that as the basis for forming your opinion of the Stefanski/Van Pelt offense and Baker’s quarterbacking? One game, with zero exhibitions during the pandemic?
What about the second game, in which the Browns scored 42 points, and Mayfield threw for 343 yards? He did throw an interception, the only interception in the Browns last eight games of the regular season. Let’s just get this straight.
The Browns scored 42 points, the quarterback threw for 343 yards with just one INT, and you think Baltimore shut down the quarterback? Do you want to blame the quarterback for the loss after scoring 42 points? We need a new quarterback because Mayfield rang up only 42 points versus the Ravens, and threw his only INT the last eight games of the season?
That’s too many interceptions for you? You don’t see any improvement over 2019? Just what in the world do you expect the Browns quarterback to do?
Even when the Browns were bad, this series has been competitive. The worst criticism I can offer Mayfield is that Mahomes is never thrown for less than 374 yards against Baltimore, so his performances rank ahead of Baker’s for now (and by the way, every time Mahomes torches the Ravens, it is Lamar Jackson’s fault, in the eyes of the media. Jackson and Mayfield are the two most unfairly criticized quarterbacks in the NFL, for whatever reason).
But Mahomes is the only quarterback who has put up better numbers than Mayfield has against the Ravens.
Finally, before putting this one to bed, the same rumor used to be applied to the Steelers, but the Browns beat the Steelers’ brains out twice in a row last season, and even Freddie beat them last year despite the terrible brawl. Mayfield owns three wins against the Steelers in three seasons, so I am assuming no believes that Mayfield cannot beat the Steelers. I think.
Good grief. The next myth deals with the next most hated player on the Browns, Odell Beckham, Jr.