The Cleveland Browns finally did it…The Browns finally won a game. It took 635 days but they finally did it. The Browns defeated the New York Jets Thursday night 21-17. Below, I break down five takeaways from the game last night.
Baker Mayfield is the new QB
It is unfortunate for Tyrod Taylor as Tyrod sustained a concussion late in the second quarter of the game. Even before this, Tyrod had missed on deep throws to Callaway and looking back at the tape via @BrownsfilmBND, Tyrod missed many more throws as well. After all of this, it was Baker Mania at First Energy Stadium, as soon as he entered the game the crowd went from dead silent to as loud as it had been all game. And Baker did not disappoint, he came in with 1:42 left in the second quarter and immediately led a scoring drive. Baker showed just why he was taken with the #1 overall pick this year. His poise and his accuracy on some of his throws were absolutely outstanding. Baker rallied this team and this city to win the first game of the season and will, (unless Hue Jackson does something incredibly wrong), likely become and stay the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns.
Larry Ogunjobi is a star
In the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Sashi Brown took a chance on a Charlotte 49er DT in Larry Ogunjobi. That pick has blossomed into a potential star on this football team. Ogunjobi made strides his rookie year as the season progressed. This season, Ogunjobi has taken a massive step in his second year and arguably became the Browns’ second-best pass rusher. From the interior, Ogunjobi has three sacks this season and led the team with eight tackles on Thursday night. Larry and Myles Garrett have become a dynamic duo and whenever Ogbah comes back, look out NFL. Larry Ogunjobi has made himself into a household name that opposing teams have to gameplan against.
Denzel Ward is shutting up the haters
Many people were surprised and questioning why the Browns took Denzel Ward with the fourth pick in the draft, while Bradley Chubb was still on the board. So far he has shown those haters why John Dorsey took him that high. In his rookie debut, Ward picked off Roethlisberger twice and Thursday night did not allow many receptions to the Jets’ receivers. When he did…, he stripped the ball from Robby Anderson which led to a Browns’ field goal. Denzel has shown incredible coverage against some of the leagues top receivers and really does have a knack for the football. Denzel looked great Thursday night and will hope to continue this throughout the rest of the season.
Jarvis Landry is as good as advertised
It was questioned whether or not Jarvis Landry would play in Thursday’s game because of a knee issue that sidelined him from practice last week. Landry ended up playing in the game and was a major factor throughout the game. I’m still not sure what the Miami Dolphins were doing when they traded him away this offseason, but I am sure glad they did. Landry has 20 catches for 278 yards so far this season and looked incredible in Thursday’s game. Landry was Baker’s favorite target and for good reason, Jarvis was wide open a lot and even when he wasn’t, Jarvis still somehow made incredible catches. I am so glad he is on this team and leading this wide receiver group for at least the next five years.
Genard Avery is more than a pass-rusher
Before last night, Genard Avery has been primarily used as a pass-rusher this season. Avery was the third-string linebacker, but once Christian Kirksey went down with an injury, Avery became the backup to James Burgess Jr. Later in the game Thursday, Burgess Jr. went down with an injury and that meant Avery needed to step up and be a regular linebacker. Avery played incredibly well in space as well as in coverage. Genard had one pass breakup on a key third down in the third quarter which led to the first touchdown of the night for the Browns. Avery has become a mainstay on this defense and helps form an incredible pass-rushing trio of Avery, Garrett, and Ogunjobi.
Overall, the Browns had many players play exceptionally well in Thursday’s win, and hopefully getting this first win under their belt will help lead to more wins the rest of this season.