Baker Mayfield finishes strong preseason with win

This sentence is not written with intended sarcasm: For the first time in what seems like forever, the Browns are in a pretty good spot at quarterback.

Of course, if that changes in nightmarish fashion, Cleveland will come for my head. But in the meantime, as we close the book on the preseason, it's true: The Browns have two good options at quarterback.

Baker Mayfield completed an impressive slate of games with perhaps his best performance yet, taking the reins of the Browns offense for an entire half and producing three scoring drives as Cleveland dominated Detroit, 35-17. Mayfield showed more of the same promise, making decisive throws, evading pressure and escaping the pocket when necessary while still completing passes.

He connected with Hard Knocks favorite Devon Cajuste twice, opening the game with a 41-yard strike to the tight end and later extending the drive with a 7-yard pass to Cajuste. That same possession saw Nick Chubb churn up 30 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-1.

Going for it on fourth down in a preseason game might seem like a little much, but as we've seen from Hard Knocks, coach Hue Jackson has made a habit of throwing caution to the wind. He said after the game he wanted Mayfield to get the experience of handling an important fourth-down conversion attempt, even though those who have followed Mayfield Mania will point out he already handled a similar situation in Week 1.

The Browns succeeded both times, even if all the rookie had to do was hand the ball off to his training camp roommate on Thursday's attempt.

Mayfield's quick, crisp throws had the Browns' offense humming so much that local Detroit broadcasters admitted the Browns were "making it look easy" by the second quarter. Cleveland's offense operated with a pace it hasn't had in quite some time. Sure, it came against what was primarily a backup defense, but Detroit sprinkled in some starters and rotational players (A'Shawn Robinson and Anthony Zettel, for example) and still didn't mount much resistance. Mayfield engineered all of it and with poise rarely seen by a rookie.

That quality was a big part of why GM John Dorsey made him the No. 1 overall pick. Mayfield finished the night with a line of 9-of-16 passing for 138 yards, and didn't record any passing touchdowns because his running backs took care of that behind an offensive line that looked the best it has all preseason. Again, a grain of salt is needed for the latter, considering it's Week 4. He got his first win as a starter, too, if that matters to anyone.

If things were different on the Browns' roster, we'd likely be talking about Mayfield entering Week 1 as the starter. But we don't have to because thanks to the addition of Tyrod Taylor, the Browns don't need to push the rookie onto the field -- even if, for the majority of the preseason, he's shown he's capable enough for the job.

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