Game Balls: 6 players star in Browns 21-17 comeback over Jets

Top picks Baker Mayfield, Denzel Ward, Myles Garrett lead charge Thursday night

Daryl Ruiter
September 21, 2018 - 10:45 am
Baker Mayfield Cleveland Browns New York Jets

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Cleveland Browns hope they put an end to the worst stretch in NFL history dating all the way back to their last Thursday night football victory – a 24-3 win at Cincinnati Nov. 6, 2014 that vaulted them to 6-3 and in first place in the AFC North before the bottom fell out and they went 5-51-1 – with their first win since Christmas eve 2016 Thursday night over the New York Jets.

With Baker Mayfield taking over for a concussed starter Tyrod Taylor, the top pick in the draft out-played the No 3 pick in the class – Sam Darnold in a 21-17 win – the first for the Browns in 665 days (not that we were keeping track or anything).

Here’s who our ‘Game Balls’ go to from the victory:

Baker Mayfield – The No. 1 pick in the 2018 Draft was nothing short of sensational in relief of Tyrod Taylor.

Mayfield orchestrated 4 scoring drives while completing 17 of 23 passes for 201 yards to rally the Browns from a 14-0 deficit late in the second quarter. His quick, decisive and accurate throws helped to light a spark.

Mayfield made everyone around him better – the offensive line, receivers, running backs and even the defense, which looked like it was starting to tire in the second quarter, got a shot in the arm with him on the field. Mayfield was on the receiving end in the Browns version of the Philly special 2-point conversion that tied the game at 14 in the third quarter and he didn’t flinch after the Jets answered with a field goal drive.

He marched the offense 15 plays and took nearly 7 minutes off the fourth quarter clock capped by Carlos Hyde’s second TD run of the night to give Cleveland their first and only lead of the night.

As unquantifiable as the “it factor” we always hear coaches and players talk about is, “it” was on full display Thursday night with Mayfield.

Carlos Hyde – Hyde celebrated his 28th birthday in style while awaiting the birth of his son by rumbling 98 yards on 23 carries, scoring both offensive touchdowns.

Friday morning, Hyde, who was delayed getting to the stadium as he anxiously awaited the birth of his son Thursday night, announced he’s finally a proud papa.

Jarvis Landry – Landry started slow and was virtually on non-factor early on but when Mayfield took the field he caught the rookie’s first throw that went for 14 yards.

Landry caught passes of 29, 16 and 16 yards while adding the successful throw on the 2-point conversion to Mayfield that tied the game at 14.

When the night was done, Landry caught 8 passes for 103 yards.

Denzel Ward – Mayfield wasn’t the only 2018 first-round pick to shine Thursday night.

Ward helped lead the comeback charge in the third quarter when he ripped the football from the hands of Jets receiver Robby Anderson, picked it up and returned it 20 yards to the 8-yard line. It was a big play that helped turn the tide in the game.

Ward added 4 tackles, including 1 for loss.

Defensively, the Browns have forced an NFL-best 11 turnovers through 3 games after forcing just 16 all of last season. 

Myles Garrett – The No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft introduced himself to Jets rookie and No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold on multiple occasions.

Garrett sacked Darnold twice, broke up a pass and applied multiple pressures in the victory.

Garrett’s 2 sacks give him 11 in his 14-game NFL career.

Joe Schobert – Schobert helped seal the victory with an interception of Darnold with 1:27 remaining.

The pick came right after the Browns took the lead on Hyde’s second 1-yard TD run.

Schobert totaled 7 tackles, a quarterback hit and 2 pass break-ups.