Baker Mayfield has the Cleveland Browns coming together at the right time.
Two wins over unimpressive Bengals and Washington teams isn’t much to sneeze at. But Cleveland rebounded from a humiliating Week 1 loss to get their season back on track, at least for a couple weeks.
Not only is Mayfield playing well, but he’s rallying the Cleveland Browns into one cohesive unit — and his teammates are noticing.
Baker Mayfield is riding a hot streak
Baker Mayfield opened the 2020 season in ugly form, completing 54% of his passes for 189 yards, a touchdown, and an interception in a 38-6 loss to the Ravens in Week 1.
Since then, even if it came against inferior competition, Mayfield has looked like the quarterback who impressed as a rookie in 2018. Mayfield went 16-for-23 in each of his last two games for 375 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception.
Granted, those wins came against the Bengals (0-2-1) and Washington (1-2), two teams that could easily be picking in the top five of next spring’s NFL draft.
Still, two victories are two victories. At 2-1, Cleveland is above .500 for the first time since December 2014.
Mayfield is rallying the Browns together
The Cleveland Browns have needed a leader, both at quarterback and on the sidelines.
It’s too early to know if rookie head coach Kevin Stefanski is the leader the Browns need in that regard. On and off the field, though, Mayfield is rallying the Browns together.
NFL Films cameras and microphones caught Mayfield telling his teammates, “I love you boys,” after throwing a touchdown to rookie tight end Harrison Bryant in Week 3.
The rallying comes in the midst of a strange statistical year for Browns receivers. Jarvis Landry has a team-high 12 catches for 143 yards, but no touchdowns.
Odell Beckham Jr. caught 11 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown through three games, but most of that damage came in a four-catch, 74-yard game against the Bengals in Week 2.
Baker Mayfield just solidified respect from his receivers
In the “I love you boys” message caught on camera, Baker Mayfield told his teammates to be patient when it came to catching passes.
Two of Mayfield’s most important targets appreciated the sentiment. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Jarvis Landry praised Mayfield for going that extra step.
“Yeah, of course [it was appreciated]. He has awareness. He understands just as well I am sure as everybody on this call or everybody that watches our games understands, guys want the ball. There’s no question about that.”
Odell Beckham Jr. said winning takes precedence over his individual targets.
“It is like you play basketball and someone is right-handed and you can’t force them to go left. Why would you even go left? That is what I always say.”
Cleveland has three challenging games ahead. The Browns travel to face Dak Prescott and the Cowboys in Week 4 before returning home and hosting the Colts in Week 5. Cleveland has an AFC North showdown with Pittsburgh in Week 6.
The next three games will be crucial in determining the Browns’ playoff hopes. Baker Mayfield needs to continue his strong play and leadership if the Browns hope to play a postseason game for the first time in nearly 20 years.