While there were plenty of moments during Wild-Card weekend, few were more impressive than the Cleveland Browns’ victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Baker Mayfield and company didn’t simply return to the playoffs; they took complete control of a game against their division rival and cruised to victory. After the game, however, the team had one more piece of business to take care of: trolling JuJu Smith-Schuster.
During the 2020 campaign, the Pittsburgh Steelers receiver has made an unfortunate habit of providing other teams with bulletin board material. After the Wild-Card game, Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns made sure to remind him of that.
JuJu Smith-Schuster gave the Cleveland Browns some major bulletin board material
While no one likes to hear players and coaches speaking in cliches, it usually makes sense; no one wants to make a disparaging comment about an opponent and provide motivational ‘bulletin board material.’ Pittsburgh Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, however, didn’t seem too concerned ahead of his Wild-Card meeting with the Cleveland Browns.
During his media availability, the wideout was asked if the current Browns team seemed different than the previous ones he had faced. While Smith-Schuster could have danced around the question of given Cleveland a generic compliment, he chose the opposite course of action.
“I think they’re still the same Browns team I play every year,” Smith-Schuster explained. “I think they’re nameless gray faces. They have a couple of good players on their team. But at the end of the day … the Browns [are just] the Browns. [It’s] AFC North football. They’re a good team, but I’m just happy we’re playing them again.”
The Cleveland Browns proved that things were different on Sunday Night
When JuJu Smith-Schuster made those comments, the Cleveland Browns hadn’t won a playoff game since January 1995. On Sunday night, however, they proved they weren’t the same old team.
While the regular season certainly suggested that the Browns had a chance of victory during Wild-Card weekend, even the most optimistic Ohioan couldn’t have predicted what unfolded. Cleveland scored a touchdown on the first play of the game when a Steelers’ snap evaded Ben Roethlisberger and rolled into the endzone; before anyone knew what happened, the lead had ballooned to 28 points.
In many ways, the game seemed like the perfect Hollywood conclusion to a lengthy playoff drought. The Browns have seemed to be cursed for years; no matter which quarterback they tried, things always seemed hopeless. Even the lead-up to Wild-Card weekend was full of issues. Head coach Kevin Stefanski and a few others were sidelined by COVID-19, two players were cited for drag racing, and the team barely had a chance to practice ahead of the game.
On Sunday night, though, none of that mattered. The Cleveland Browns finally won a playoff game, beating the Steelers 48-37 in Pittsburgh.
Baker Mayfield and his teammates made sure to remind JuJu Smith-Schuster of what he said
Shortly before the game kicked off, Baker Mayfield posted a video on Instagram with the caption “Browns is the Browns,” making it clear that he hadn’t forgotten JuJu Smith-Schuster’s comments. That, however, was only the start of the trolling.
In a video shared by Cleveland lineman Alex Taylor, Baker Mayfield is seen running down the tunnel; when he passed by the camera, he simply said, “the Browns is the Browns.” Clips from inside the locker room also hit social media; players were dancing to “Corvette Corvette,” which Smith-Schuster previously used for his pregame dances. There were also, unsurprisingly, some more shouts about the Browns being the Browns.
While some might say the Bakers Mayfield Cleveland Browns should have been gracious winners, JuJu Smith-Schuster, at least to some extent, brought this on himself. If you’re going to call out an opponent before the game, you’re opening yourself up to whatever happens in defeat.