The Baker Mayfield era has started for the Cleveland Browns.
The former Heisman Trophy winner and the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft watched from the sideline for the first two games of the year, but got his first NFL action in Week 3 after Tyrod Taylor went to the locker room with an injury.
Mayfield came in and helped turn a 14-0 deficit into a 21-17 win, the Browns’ first victory since Dec. 24, 2016.
Taylor completed just four of his 14 passes for 19 yards against the New York Jets before a sack appeared to cause a head injury. After evaluation in the medical tent on the sideline, Taylor went to the locker room and Mayfield came in for the Browns’ final drive of first half.
The Browns later announced that Taylor was being evaluated for a concussion and then ruled him out for the remainder of the game.
Prior to his departure, the Cleveland crowd was already begging to see Mayfield:
"Baker" chants break out in Cleveland. pic.twitter.com/V22awmDhjj— Joe Buettner (@ByJoeBuettner) September 21, 2018
Mayfield completed his first three passes for 47 yards before an incomplete pass set up a field goal before the half:
The Browns added another field and two touchdowns in the second half. Mayfield didn’t pass for any touchdowns, though he did catch a two-point conversion for the game’s most fun play of the night.
The offense looked much smoother with Mayfield under center and the rookie was sharp, completing 17 of 23 passes for 201 yards.
Regardless of if Taylor is cleared to return next week, it may be difficult for the Browns to turn back to the veteran who has now completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes on the year.
Hue Jackson wouldn’t commit to Mayfield after the game:
Hue not committing to Mayfield as his QB, says he has to watch the tape first.— Dave Richard (@daverichard) September 21, 2018
But the way Mayfield played, and the spark he provided to help the Browns finally get a win, doesn’t give Jackson much of a choice. It appears to be the rookie’s turn to see what he can do.