Baker Mayfield carved up the Cincinnati Bengals to lead the Cleveland Browns to a 35-20 win. What made his four-touchdown game a little more spicy was the fact that the Bengals recently hired Hue Jackson to help out defensively.
Jackson was in his third season as head coach of the Browns before he was fired near the end of October. In the time since his departure, the Cleveland offense and Mayfield, in particular, have thrived. So Browns players were a little excited to go against their former coach in Week 12.
When Cleveland safety Damarious Randall caught an interception in the first half, he trolled the coach by handing the ball over to Jackson. It wasn’t too surprising then, that the postgame encounter between Jackson and Mayfield was a little awkward:
Mayfield had a few negative things to say about Jackson after the game, but his reason for being a little icy with the coach was weird:
“Didn’t feel like talking to him,” Mayfield told reporters. “He was here trying to tell us to play for him. Then he goes to a team we play twice a year. That’s how I feel. We have people we believe in calling the plays now.”
'Left Cleveland goes down to Cincinnati. I don't know. That's just somebody that's in our locker room asking for us to play for him & then goes to a different team we play twice a year. Everybody can have their spin on it, but that's how I feel.'— Marc Sessler (@MarcSesslerNFL) November 25, 2018
- Baker Mayfield on Hue Jackson
Uhh ... Jackson didn’t choose to leave, Baker. He had every intention of staying in Cleveland. Then he got fired.
Jackson could’ve stayed unemployed and turned down a job offer from the Bengals — a team he’s spent seven seasons with — for the sake of honor. But why in the world would he owe that to the team that fired him?
Mayfield is a quarterback who goes out of his way to play with a chip on his shoulder. And the result throughout his football life has been a veritably fun player to watch. It’s part of the reason the Browns have back-to-back wins, and Mayfield’s competitive fire has Cleveland fans fired up about the future.
If sticking it to a former coach gets Mayfield motivated, more power to him. But Jackson’s not exactly a traitor for taking a job.