- Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
- Less than a week removed from head coach Hue Jackson’s departure from the team, the Cleveland Browns took down Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons, 28-16.
- Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for 216 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in Sunday’s win.
- Mayfield told reporters he “woke up feeling real dangerous” before his impressive performance.
Baker Mayfield “woke up feeling real dangerous” Sunday morning, and he looked real dangerous Sunday afternoon.
The Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback threw for 216 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in Sunday’s 28-16 win over the Atlanta Falcons. When he was asked what sparked his impressive performance, Mayfield gave the tongue-in-cheek response about waking up feeling ready to play.
A laughing reporter asked him to expand on the thought, but Mayfield just doubled down on his original statement:
“I just woke up feeling real dangerous,” he said.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 12, 2018
The impressive performance came less than a week after the team’s front office parted ways with former head coach Hue Jackson, who led the team to a 3-36-1 record in his two-plus seasons at the helm in Cleveland. It’s safe to say the pressure was on in Cleveland.
But Mayfield has never been one to shy away from a big moment. A walk-on-turned-Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma, the 6-foot-1 quarterback had plenty of moments of greatness – and controversy – in his three years with the Sooners.
After the Kansas Jayhawks refused to shake his hand ahead of the coin toss in their November 2017 matchup, Mayfield made an obscene gesture towards the opposing bench en route to a punishing 41-3 victory.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) November 20, 2017
A month prior, the boisterous native of Austin, Texas planted the Oklahoma flag in the center of the Ohio State Buckeyes’ “O” at midfield after an emphatic comeback win in Columbus.
It’s his unapologetic, if sometimes unruly persona that helped him win over some of his Browns teammates, according to Yahoo Sports’ Kimberley A. Martin.
She asked defensive end Myles Garrett when he started believing in his team’s new quarterback, and Garrett responded with a clarifying question:
“You mean, in person, or on TV, when I saw him hold his crotch?” Garrett asked. “That’s when I knew he was different, man. He had something to him.”
Garrett said Mayfield has brought that same attitude with him to the NFL.
“I mean, he’s a d— … when you have to play him,” Garrett added with a smile. “Even in practice, sometimes, I wanna chop him in the throat. He talks smack to everybody.”
Other teammates agreed:
“He got a swag about himself,” said receiver Rashard Higgins. “And the way that he comes to work, we just know he got it.”
“He’s making a statement like, ‘Hey, we’re going to kick your ass.’ And we’ve gotta be like, ‘Alright, let’s go out there and do it. We can’t turn around now,'” veteran offensive lineman Joel Bitonio said of Mayfield’s antics. “It’s pretty cool. It gives you something.”
Cleveland has seemingly graduated from its previous role as the butt of every NFL joke. The Browns have already improved upon their abysmal 2016 and 2017 seasons, and with one more win, Mayfield and his teammates can post the team’s best record since 2014.
Cleveland fans will just have to hope their young quarterback continues to wake up feeling real dangerous on Sunday mornings.