I won’t try to sugarcoat the Cleveland Brown’s abysmal matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 18. Nor will I offer up disgruntled complaints. It is a loss to a team who did many things better than the Browns. However, in my effort to balance the narrative, I submit to you three observations that lead me to believe that the team is not doomed nor is the season over.
• INJURIES TAKE A TOLL- It should go without saying that when a dedicated player takes the field nursing an injury, there is a reasonable chance that his play will be compromised. Everyone is well aware that a rib injury impacted Baker Mayfield’s game.
Also notable is the fact that wide receiver, Jarvis Landry recently confirmed playing with a broken rib. According to Landry, “It hurts…(but) I am doing whatever I need to do to play on Sundays.”
Taking the field on Sunday against the Steelers were a number of players listed as questionable just days before the matchup. Aside from Mayfield and Landry: WR Odell Beckham (illness), DE Olivier Vernon (groin), DT Larry Ogunjobi (oblique) and P Jamie Gillan (groin) all played with issues significant enough to be worth mentioning.
- 4-2 IS NOT A BAD RECORD- As of this writing, 19 NFL teams wish they were 4-2, and six teams are sitting at 4-2. I find it baffling, to say the least, how Browns ‘fans’ can lose their minds over a record like this. I thought we had moved past outrageously unrealistic expectations that plagued us last season. As much as it pains me to say it, (and it pains me greatly), we lost to a team that was playing better than we did. As Baker said recently, the loss to Pittsburgh “counts for one loss, and the most the important game is the next one.”
- BAKER MAYFIELD IS NOT A BAD QUARTERBACK- There, I said it, and I mean it. All of the detractors, fair-weather fans, and so-called experts can twist the narrative as much as they like. It doesn’t change a damn thing.
-Baker has had four head coaches since being drafted in 2018 To everyone who says that is an excuse try and remember (assuming you can) that continuity matters on the football field. Also, one of those coaches was Hue Jackson, and another was Freddie Kitchens ‘Nuff said.
-Browns team history is making the case for Mayfield. I saw some statistics posted by a fellow Browns fan on Twitter. The Browns have had 58 quarterbacks since the team came into existence in 1946. Of those quarterbacks, Baker Mayfield ranks 8th in passing yards (first in passing yards among QBs with fewer than 50 starts) Additionally, Mayfield ranks 8th in passing touchdowns (first among QBs with fewer than 50 starts)
Mayfield lands in the top ¼ of Browns quarterbacks throughout the team’s history. I sincerely see no reason for the hate towards Mayfield. Yes, there are other QBs in the NFL who have better stats. However, check out the stability of the franchises. As long as Cleveland keeps trying to reinvent itself, the team will lack the solid foundation necessary to build a winning team.
The hysterics from the media and bumps in the road will likely shake the bandwagon fans enough to make them fall off and move along. As for the real Browns fans, we will be doing what many of us have done for decades, cheering, barking, hoping, and supporting our team.