With just over three minutes left in the second quarter of Thursday night’s game between the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets, a key play happened that would change the mood and atmosphere in Northeast Ohio. On that play, Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor was sacked for the third time in the first half of the game, this time for a six-yard loss. All three sacks totaled for a loss of 22 yards.
But after the sack, Taylor was slow to get up from the ground.
After Taylor got to the sideline, he was brought under the medical tent for evaluations. At the same time, the Browns punted the ball to the Jets. The Jets went three and out before punting the ball back to the Browns with 1:49 left on the clock, with Taylor still under the tent.
Enter first overall pick from the 2018 NFL Draft, Baker Mayfield.
Mayfield entered the game with the Browns trailing the Jets 14-0. The crowd in attendance at First Energy Stadium was suddenly brought back to life as Mayfield trotted into the huddle. Prior to this point, Tyrod Taylor had completed only four of his 14 pass attempts for 19 yards. On his official play as a professional football player, Mayfield stood in the pocket to complete a 14-yard pass to Jarvis Landry. While the crowd erupted into cheers, Mayfield hurried up the offense for a no-huddle play, this time a 17-yard pass completed to David Njoku. The result of Mayfield’s first official NFL drive ended in a 45-yard field goal by newly signed Browns kicker Greg Joseph. The Browns entered the locker room for halftime trailing the Jets 14-3.
By the time the second half of the game started, it was obvious that Tyrod Taylor had suffered a concussion and that this would be Mayfield’s game to complete. According to ESPN.com, the point that Mayfield entered the game is when “Bakermania” officially started. The ticket sales started flying off of the shelves. In the report, Mark Klang, a ticket broker for Amazing Tickets, gave the comparison of “Bakermania” to the night Johnny Manziel was drafted.
Klang stated that the night Manziel was drafted that ticket sales went crazy for 30 minutes. However, ticket sales following Mayfield entering the game Thursday night were still coming in two hours after the game ended, selling tickets for every game for the remainder of the 2018 season. Not only did ticket sales dramatically increase, but Fanatics also reported in the same ESPN.com report that Mayfield jersey sales significantly increased as well. Again, using Manziel as a comparison, Mayfield sold more jerseys in the first 14 hours after replacing Taylor at quarterback than Manziel did in the day he was drafted and the day after the draft combined. Fanatics also reported that for the two hours, from halftime to midnight, Mayfield became the day’s best-selling NFL jersey, outselling Khalil Mack and Tom Brady combined.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 24 hours, by this point you already know that the Browns won their first game in 635 days with Baker Mayfield was the quarterback finishing the game. The Browns overcame a 14-3 deficit at halftime to win the game 21-17 over the Jets. Mayfield finished the game with 17 completions on 23 attempts for 201 yards. In addition, Mayfield caught a pass from Jarvis Landry to successfully complete a two-point conversion in the third quarter.
Still buzzing with excitement, the media entered the post-game press conference curious about the starting quarterback situation for Cleveland in week four. Will head coach Hue Jackson stick with Tyrod Taylor as the starting quarterback? Or is it time for Baker Mayfield to start? Jackson would not make a decision about the quarterback for the next game. Cleveland has ten days until their next game and Jackson wants time to view the game film. A decision should be expected within the next few days.