The Cleveland Browns won a football game on Thursday. Sure, the game didn’t matter much considering it opened up the Browns’ preseason slate. No, preseason success isn’t correlated to regular-season success — evidenced by the Browns’ 4-0 record in the preseason and 0-16 record in the regular season a year ago. But what the Browns saw from not one, but two quarterbacks on Thursday night should give them hope heading into the upcoming season.

Against the Giants on Thursday night, Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield lit up the field. Taylor, the bridge starter, worked the team’s first two series, and he went a perfect 5 of 5 for 99 yards and a touchdown. Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick waiting for his turn, took over after Taylor departed and played until the fourth quarter, going 11 of 20 for 212 yards and two touchdowns of his own. Suddenly, after spending most of their existence without one good quarterback, the Browns might just have two good quarterbacks. 

After the game, Browns receiver Jarvis Landry praised both quarterbacks during an interview with Pete Prisco on CBS Sports HQ (you can watch that interview above).

“Both moved the ball really well,” Landry said. “Made accurate throws. Took chances. … At the end of the day, no turnovers. That’s always your hope.”

He also addressed how the Browns will avoid stirring up a quarterback controversy. For Landry, it’s simple. The best player will play.

“We promote healthy competition,” Landry said. “The best guys are going to play. As simple as that.”

As of Thursday night, that player is Taylor. Mayfield’s ceiling is certainly higher than Taylor’s given that Mayfield was the top-overall pick in this year’s draft, but Mayfield’s floor is also considerably lower than Taylor’s given Taylor has been a solid NFL quarterback for a few years now and Mayfield has never played in a real NFL game. 

Though Mayfield wound up with better numbers than Taylor on Thursday night, he only did that because he got a much longer stretch of playing time than Taylor, who was pretty much perfect when he was allowed to play. There was his perfect deep ball to Landry:

And then there was his brilliant touchdown up the seam to tight end David Njoku:

Mayfield, on the other hand, impressed with his willingness to cycle through his reads on his touchdown pass to Njoku:

And he fired a dart to Antonio Callaway that allowed the rookie wide receiver to break free for a lengthy touchdown:

It’s only Week 1 of the preseason, but the Browns appear to have found a short-term (Taylor) and long-term (Mayfield) solutions to their historic quarterback problem. 


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