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Monson: Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield looks to be turning the corner

Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) reacts after a called fumble is confirmed on a play during the second half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

This week may have changed the narrative entirely on Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns.

Heading into the weekend, the Browns were being talked about as a fraudulent 8-3 team — one that held a negative points differential thanks to two shellackings at the hands of divisional foes Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

Beating Tennessee would have been a big result however it came. Even if they had lost but still showed development — particularly from Mayfield — it still would have been a solid outcome. Instead, they blew the Tennessee Titans off the field in their own building, taking a 38-7 lead to the half and then seeing out the game 41-35.

Editor's note: Any Week 13 grades or stats included in this piece are subject to change based on PFF's grade review process.

Much of the negativity surrounding the team centered around the fact that Mayfield’s play hasn’t been matching the team’s record. Heading into the weekend, Mayfield ranked 25th in the league in passer rating, 22nd in yards per attempt and 33rd in completion rate, as well as — most critically — 22nd in overall PFF grade (72.4).

That last mark is actually worse than the number he posted in 2019 when the sky was falling in Cleveland and everybody was fired as a result of it.

Baker Mayfield: Passing statistics in 2019 vs. 2020 (Week 1-12)
Stat 2019 2020
PFF grade 74.4 72.4
PFF passing grade 72.4 71.4
Completion % 59.4% 61.2%
Yards per attempt 7.2 7.2
Passer rating 78.8 92.3

The jump in passer rating of almost 15 points represents the improvement in the environment and supporting cast around Mayfield. That is reflected in the team winning games as opposed to underachieving relative to expectations a year ago. Still, the most important position in the game has been an open question for them.

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