Browns Fans Shudder: Baker Mayfield's Playoff Triumph

Cleveland's Bold Move Meets Tampa's Triumph in NFL Saga.

by Nouman Rasool
Browns Fans Shudder: Baker Mayfield's Playoff Triumph
© Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

In an NFL season marked by unexpected twists and remarkable resilience, the Cleveland Browns' journey has captured the imagination of fans and analysts alike. Despite the early setback of losing star running back Nick Chubb in Week 2, the Browns have been a study in determination.

Cycling through five quarterbacks, they've leaned on a formidable defense, arguably the league's finest, to secure an impressive 11-6 record, clinching the 5-seed in the AFC. However, the Browns' inspiring run came to a halt, courtesy of C.J.

Stroud and the Texans. This outcome plunged the Browns' faithful into despair, shattering dreams of a storybook season. The stark reality hit home as veteran quarterback Joe Flacco, who had rejuvenated the Browns' offense since Week 13, faltered on the big stage.

Flacco's decline in the critical moments resonated with the harsh truth of the old saying, "Be careful what you wish for." Compounding the agony for Browns fans was the sight of their former hero, Baker Mayfield, shining brightly for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Mayfield, once the beloved face of the Browns, delivered a masterclass performance, propelling the Bucs to a decisive 32-9 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the reigning NFC champions.

Mayfield vs. Watson: Stark Contrast

Mayfield's resurgence in Tampa stands in stark contrast to the Browns' gamble on Deshaun Watson.

Cleveland's controversial decision to trade for the troubled Watson, offering a staggering $230 million guaranteed contract and multiple first-round picks, has been fraught with challenges. Watson's tenure with the Browns has been marred by injuries and underperformance, a far cry from his Pro Bowl days in Houston.

Meanwhile, Mayfield, after a turbulent 2022 with the Panthers and Rams, has found his stride with the Buccaneers. Taking over after Tom Brady's retirement, Mayfield's impressive stats – over 4,000 yards this season, including a 337-yard, three-touchdown, zero-interception game against the Eagles – are testament to his resurgence.

His performance could have been even more stellar if not for some missed opportunities by his receivers. The Browns, now stuck with Watson's underwhelming and unpopular play, face the grim reality of being tied to his contract until at least 2027.

As they endure this challenging period, their former favorite, Mayfield, is thriving in Tampa, endearing himself to the Bucs' fans just as he once did in Cleveland. Looking ahead, the return of Nick Chubb and a top-tier defense offers a glimmer of hope for the Browns in the next season.

However, for the moment, the Browns' supporters can only watch, with a mix of nostalgia and regret, as Mayfield continues to excel with the Buccaneers.

Browns Baker Mayfield