For nearly 20 seasons of NFL football, the Cleveland Browns have had few occasions to truly celebrate their reincarnation back in 1999. Tim Couch threw a few Hail Mary’s for wins early, William Green ran them into a playoff game, and for three quarters and change they looked poised to win a playoff game back in 2002. They had a fun season in 2007 until they couldn’t win the one game that mattered, and 2014 was fun until they lost five straight to end the year.
Since that win in 2014 against the Atlanta Falcons, the Browns won four games over the next three seasons.
None of that shit mattered on Sunday, because the Cleveland Browns had a better day than any other team in the entire league.
It really began a few weeks ago when the utterly incompetent Hue Jackson was finally fired as head coach. The ineptitude fans were forced to endure was brutal for two-plus seasons, but the minute Jackson was canned everything got better. There was an expected loss to Kansas City, but interim coach Gregg Williams’ style rejuvenated the squad, and new offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens simplified shit and using input from players, got the offense to dominate against Atlanta.
With Jackson now a special assistant to Marvin Lewis, the Browns would have the chance to do what Jackson does best and humiliate him.
Baker Mayfield was asked if Jackson’s presence in Cincinnati would help the Bengals. His answer was telling, despite being succinct.
“No…<asked why>…just no.”
It was prescient as it was revealing, because Mayfield led the Browns down the field in quick fashion en route to a four touchdown day through the air. They included some incredible highlights, like this insane leap and run and push from David Njoku.
— Michael C Thomas (@MooseT187) November 25, 2018
But then, Nick Chubb topped it was this amazing touchdown catch.
What a catch by Nick Chubb 😮pic.twitter.com/5Kfeh3r0di
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) November 25, 2018
Mayfield was insanely comfortable, looking cool as hell in the pocket working the play action.
— Damon Kecman (@DownWithDamon) November 25, 2018
With all the focus on Hue Jackson, safety Damarious Randall went stone-cold gangster on his former coach after his interception.
Build Damarious Randall a statue today for handing Hue the INT ball pic.twitter.com/ZWRp1aDL2R
— Bottlegate (@Bottlegate) November 25, 2018
Jabrill Peppers would salt the wound, saying after the game that Randall turned down an easy pick six on the play just to run out of bounds and hand Jackson the ball. It’s a swagger not seen in Cleveland since perhaps Hanford Dixon and Frank Minnifield roamed the secondary.
It was sixty minutes that saw the Browns dominate the Bengals, complete with highlight reel plays, and some next level swagger. But it was the post game that really solidified the W.
Mayfield was not interested in warmly embracing his former coach on the field, as Jackson sought him out for a hug.
Hue goes for the hug, Baker shuts him down. pic.twitter.com/ssNmePPksM
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) November 25, 2018
In his post game press conference, Mayfield made clear his feelings for Jackson.
Baker Mayfield was not a fan of Hue Jackson going to coach the divison-rival Bengals. pic.twitter.com/uvTblVZdo8
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 25, 2018
It’s been a long time since the Browns were the dawgs, but the glory days look to be budding in Cleveland. Their quarterback is a leader with swagger and a mean streak surrounded by play makers who appear to be coming into their own. The defense is emboldened by the brash personality of Gregg Williams, and has the talent to back up their brazen manner.
If you’re not paying attention to what’s going on in Cleveland, you better be. These aren’t Hue Jackson’s Browns anymore. They’re a legit football team.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) November 25, 2018