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This Browns’ season was full of twists and turns and I’ve compiled a list of my personal Top-10 Browns moments of this season.
With less than two minutes to play, the Browns were down seven with the ball on Pittsburgh 17 yard line. Taylor took the snap, dropped back and found Josh Gordon streaking toward the goal line for a spectacular touchdown catch. Although Gordon was only part of the team for one game and Taylor was dismissed in favor of Mayfield after two and a half games, this catch was significant because it completed a 14-point 4th quarter comeback, showing the newfound resolve of this Browns team.
With the ball on Pittsburgh 17 yard line. Taylor took the snap, dropped back and found Josh Gordon streaking toward the goal line for a spectacular touchdown catch. Although Gordon was only part of the team for one game and Taylor was dismissed in favor of Mayfield after two and a half games, this catch was significant because it completed a 14-point 4th quarter comeback, showing the newfound resolve of this Browns team.
In Baker Mayfield’s first divisional game against the Baltimore Ravens, the team that had dominated the Browns ever since their return in 1999. Mayfield orchestrated two fantastic drives, one leading to a touchdown at the end of the first half, the second at the end of overtime to set up new kicker Greg Joseph up for a 34-yard field goal that would win the game if successful.
Joseph’s kick was tipped on the way through but still managed to creep over the crossbar and through the uprights. It was the moment Baker announced to the division that he had arrived and the game also happened a day before I turned 18, making it a wonderful birthday present.
If the Browns continue their historic turnaround into next season and maker the playoffs and possibly win the division, the 2018 NFL Draft will be remembered in a 30 for 30 film someday in the future. In this draft, the Browns snagged Baker Mayfield, who set the rookie passing touchdown record and is perhaps the most exciting rookie in the last 10 years, CB Denzel Ward, a pro-bowler in his rookie season, and dynamic running back Nick Chubb, who broke the Browns’ record for longest play from scrimmage. These three rookies would combine to win rookie of the week 11 times this season. Along with later picks, Antonio Callaway and Genard Avery, who have shown incredible promise this season, the Browns young core as shown its potential to shine for years to come.
Despite Cleveland taking a four-point 4th quarter lead in Denver courtesy of a brilliant Baker Mayfield touchdown, the Broncos had cut the Browns’ lead down to one point and held the ball 10 yards from field goal range with less than a minute to play. Facing a 4th and 10, a conversion would have put the Broncos in field goal range with around 30 seconds to play. However, Gregg Williams called a blitz on the fourth down and Jabrill Peppers, who has had his struggles throughout his first two years in the pros, ran free and brought down Case Keenum to seal a tough road win for the Browns, a team that has struggled immensely away from FirstEnergy Stadium.
After being dismissed by John Dorsey and Jimmy Haslam after Cleveland’s embarrassment at Pittsburgh, Hue Jackson found a new job under his old friend Marvin Lewis with the Cincinnati Bengals before the first battle of Ohio in Week 12. Cleary motivated by playing under the previous head coach who had lead them to a record of 3-36-1, the Browns came to play and scored 35 unanswered points to start the game, including four TD passes from Mayfield. During the game, the Browns players took several shots at Hue Jackson, including Demarious Randall handing Hue Jackson an intercepted pass and Baker refusing to hug Hue after the game. Making it all sweeter, this was the Browns’ first road win since 2015.
In the second round during Week 15, The Browns opened with 23 unanswered points to win the game at home. After throwing a long catch and run to David Njoku, Baker Mayfield stared down Hue Jackson as he ran down the field to take a knee and end the game. All the suffering under Hue Jackson was finally over and the circle was complete.
After setting up a one-yard TD run by Carlos Hyde with a beautiful pass to Jarvis Landry, the Browns trailed the New York Jets 14-12, so they lined up in shotgun formation to attempt a two-point conversion. After motioning Baker Mayfield out and setting up Duke Johnson in “The Wildcat,” the Browns ran the Philly Special to complete the two-point conversion to Baker Mayfield in the endzone. This play announced Mayfield’s arrival to the NFL.
Although sitting behind Carlos Hyde for the first part of the season, Nick Chubb didn’t hesitate in making his mark on games. During the Browns Week 3 matchup with the Oakland Raiders, Nick Chubb was given only three carries, but he racked up 105 yards and two touchdown runs. This eventually led to Carlos Hyde being traded and Chubb becoming one of the NFL’s most promising young running backs.
After Hue Jackson’s Browns were beaten down in Pittsburgh as they have in many years previous, he and offensive coordinator, Todd Haley, were relieved of their duties in favor of Gregg Williams becoming head coach and little-known Freddie Kitchens becoming the offensive coordinator. Under these two, the Browns finished the year 5-3 as Kitchens revamped the Browns’ offense and created a strong bond with Baker Mayfield.
Freddie Kitchens was named head coach on Jan. 9, leading the Browns in the right direction.
Against the Atlanta Falcons, Baker Mayfield recorded his best game of the season, recording three TD passes, a completion percentage of 85% and a 151.1 QBR. After throwing a 28-yard TD to Rashard Higgins on the run, he ran to the sidelines screaming “I woke up feeling dangerous!” He later repeated this to the postgame media, dubbing the phrase as the Browns’ slogan for the year.
After being pinned at their 8-yard line, the Browns ran a routine handoff to Nick Chubb. After a couple of good blocks, Nick Chubb took it all the way to the house. 92 yards. Not much more needs to be said about that.
This play set the record for the longest play from scrimmage in the history of the Browns, so it earns the #1 spot.