Ahead of last night’s Browns-Jets game, there were some rumors that we might see Baker Mayfield get serious time. Starter Tyrod Taylor wound up leaving with a concussion, and Mayfield came in and sparked the team.
The Browns trailed 14-0 when Taylor went out. He was just 4-for-14 for 19 yards in the game, and took three sacks while in.
Mayfield led the team to a field goal to get the team on the board to end the first half. In the second, he and the Browns outscored the Jets 18-3 to pull out the 21-17 win.
The Browns and Jets is not the best match-up, both teams are probably playoff longshots (though the Browns have a shot if they play like they did in the second half. However, plenty of NFL fans got the memo that Mayfield was doing something special, and tuned into the game, especially down the stretch.
According to the Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, Baker Mayfield’s appearance helped draw really big ratings for the often-beleaguered Thursday Night slot.
You can call this one the Baker-effect.
Jets-Browns 8.6M viewers is up 16% from last season (Rams-49ers) and 41% from last year's TNF average for exclusive games on NFL Network.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) September 21, 2018
Mayfield finished the game 17-of-23 for 201. He also caught a two-point conversion on a trick play.
The fact that it was Mayfield’s first meaningful appearance, and he was going up against 2018 NFL Draft quarterback rival Sam Darnold definitely added some juice, as did the fact that the Browns were going for their first win since 2016.
Still, NFL Network has to be thrilled with the result.