CLEVELAND – Before he rolled out of bed, Baker Mayfield had a premonition of near perfection.
More than a hunch.
”When I woke up this morning, I was feeling pretty dangerous,” the Browns rookie quarterback said with a smile and a hint of arrogance. ”I just woke up feeling really dangerous.”
Mayfield threw a season-high three touchdown passes and rookie Nick Chubb streaked 92 yards for a TD as the Cleveland Browns ended a four-game losing streak with their best all-around performance in years, a stunning 28-16 win over the Falcons on Sunday.
The Browns (3-6-1) played their most complete game this season under interim coach Gregg Williams, their defensive coordinator who improved to 1-1 since replacing the fired Hue Jackson.
Mayfield outplayed Falcons star quarterback Matt Ryan with an excellent outing that further justifies Cleveland’s decision to take the former Oklahoma QB with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft.
Earlier this week, Williams and offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens urged Mayfield to play loose and not worry about any mistakes.
”If you take a step back and watch how he managed the game in the huddle, how he managed the clock, how he managed the check systems and how he managed the overall communication on the offensive side of the ball,” Williams said. ”A good next step for him.”
Mayfield completed his first 13 passes and finished 17 of 20 for 216 yards. He threw a 28-yard scoring pass to Rashard Higgins, a 13-yarder to Chubb and 11-yarder to Duke Johnson. He went 12 of 12 for 165 yards and two TD passes in the first half, and didn’t throw his first incompletion until 11:14 remained in the third quarter.
Two plays later, he connected with Johnson to put the Browns ahead 21-10
”It comes down to just doing my job,” said Mayfield, who appreciated his coaches’ trust. ”Them saying they trust me enough to let the ball go, I was brought here for a reason so just go do my thing.