Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns took the Kansas City Chiefs to the wire in Sunday afternoon’s AFC Divisional Round playoff game. Unfortunately, Kevin Stefanski’s club ran out of gas and couldn’t complete the comeback, falling 22-17.
The loss brings a historic Browns season to a close. Cleveland won 11 games and made the postseason for the first time in 18 years, looking to be an AFC competitor for years to come. Most importantly, the Browns seem to have found their franchise quarterback.
Mayfield impressed on Sunday against the Chiefs defense, confidently making throws out of play action and leading the offense. The 25-year-old quarterback kept Cleveland in the game after a 19-3 halftime deficit and almost knocked off the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Mayfield ended the game 23-for-37 with a touchdown and an interception.
The Browns QB got plenty of recognition on Twitter for his performance against Kansas City. Take a look at what the NFL world said about Mayfield as he tried to lead Cleveland’s upset bid:
Baker Mayfield playing like he in the last year of his Hulu contract
— Cameron Magruder (@ScooterMagruder) January 17, 2021
I'd still take Baker Mayfield over Josh Allen.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) January 17, 2021
Baker Mayfield was surgical today. The Browns should offer him an extension as soon as they can. He's their guy.
— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) January 17, 2021
#Browns: won 11 games for the 1st time since 1994, ended 18-year playoff drought, won a playoff game for the first time since 1994, sent the #Steelers home for the winter, verified Baker Mayfield is "the guy"
Most successful campaign in 3 decades for the franchise.
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) January 17, 2021
#Browns The box score may not reflect it, but Baker Mayfield played one HELL of a half of football.
— Cody Suek (@CodySuek) January 17, 2021
Baker Mayfield is kinda dealing in this game.
— Robert Mays (@robertmays) January 17, 2021
The Browns young quarterback clearly took a leap in year three, particularly in regards to protecting the football. Mayfield threw just nine interceptions in 18 games in 2020 compared to 30 touchdowns. He showed a knack for winning and continued to build his relationship with the city of Cleveland.
Although Mayfield will be disappointed with Sunday’s outcome, he will enter the offseason with clear evidence that he’s deserving of a contract extension. With just one year left on his rookie deal, the 25-year-old will be in line for a big payday that the Browns should be happy to give him. If the two parties can reach an agreement on the deal, Mayfield would be Cleveland’s first franchise quarterback in quite some time.
Although Browns fans will spend most of Sunday mourning their playoff loss, the city of Cleveland should celebrate the play of Mayfield and what it could mean for the organization’s future.