The divisional round of the AFC playoffs is in the books, and all I can think about are the shortcomings of Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield.
After perhaps the greatest weekend of playoff football the world has ever known, I found myself watching the quarterbacks and asking myself after every marvelous play: Can Baker do that?
My inner thoughts only served as a depressant, because almost always, the answer was “Nope.”
You see, when Baker gets sacked nine times, he takes on the head coach for poor management and scheming and consults with his family and agent about whether he should play his team’s next game. When Joe Burrow gets sacked nine times, the Athens County native hangs in long enough, to make a couple throws on the final drive, which set up a field goal to knock off the No. 1 seed, putting his team in the AFC Championship game.
Bills’ QB Josh Allen went into a heavyweight fight against Patrick Mahomes, and when it mattered, the fourth-year veteran traded punches and came within 13 seconds of pulling out a victory.
Meanwhile, Mahomes is Mahomes. Only a video game character can produce points in 13 seconds, and that’s exactly what he did to send the game into overtime for an improbable victory.
The weekend was sobering for Brown fans, because without a franchise quarterback at the helm, the only way Cleveland will attend the AFC title game in the near future is by buying a ticket.
Now the Browns are looking at an AFC stacked with Mahomes, Allen, Burrow, Justin Herbert–and don’t forget about a healthy Lamar Jackson.
I didn’t even get into NFC quarterbacks–there’s some great ones there, too. The talent on display this weekend helps prove my Andy Dalton-Baker Mayfield theory–that Mayfield is, like Dalton during his Cincinnati prime, a middle-of-the-road quarterback.
Considering the Browns fielded the worst of the worst quarterbacks for the better part of 20 years, middle of the road looks like Otto Graham. The important thing, of course, is not to get complacent.
Average doesn’t win Super Bowls. It’s good enough to get you to postseason, and as Mayfield showed, maybe even win one.
If you’re still not convinced, how do you think Titans’ fans feel about Ryan Tannehill? He’s a very good player, but not upper tier. Heck, he got his team the one seed, only to go one-and-done.
And in case you’ve been dodging my jabs, here’s the knockout combo you can’t avoid: Odell Beckham Jr. is playing in the NFC title game and will probably go to the Super Bowl–and he’s a significant contributor.
Beckham is far from being elite, but he’s also far from being an afterthought in LA’s offense, which is what he looked like playing with Mayfield. He had three grabs for 69 yards in the divisional title win.
Beckham has five touchdown receptions with LA, after having ZERO with Cleveland. Talk about a black eye on the organization.
Now, take a deep breath, and I’ll take mine, because actions speak louder than words and the Andrew Berry-led front office has spoken pretty clearly in their decision not to offer Baker Mayfield an extension.
Do they act on a replacement for 2022? I think it’s unlikely, but unless Mayfield goes full-blown Joe Montana on the league next season, a new starter isn’t that far off the horizon.
Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield has last word
Mayfield, got the last word on the AFC Divisional round, by announcing on social media that “Social Media is toxic,” adding “Always kept my circle tight. Time to get back to that. Family and loved ones only.”
This, from the same guy who rushed to Twitter (what 20 minutes?) after major orthopedic surgery, still looking like he was under sedatives, to provide an update on how things went…right.
Always get a kick out of seeing people make pronouncements that they’re done with social media. They’re trying to look like they’re above the fray by talking down on the platforms as a drama filled medium, when in actuality, they’re just making themselves the center of attention, again, by needing to announce they’re stepping away.
Never mind that they could just unplug or delete the app without saying anything.
I wonder what Burrow says about all this: Oh yeah, he’s tweeted twice in-season and both posts, coming Dec. 27-28, were promoting something called “The Cash App.”