A big night for Browns running back Carlos Hyde turned into a long but special one.
After helping power Cleveland to a comeback win over the Jets on Thursday, he had little time to celebrate neither his 28th birthday nor the team's first victory since Christmas Eve 2016.
Hyde had a son — he and his wife's first child, Carlos Jr. — on the way and nothing was going to stop him from witnessing it.
"I was in the room when he came out," Hyde said Monday with a wide smile. "I was one of the first people he saw."
Before that, Hyde turned in his best performance of the season, combining for 103 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns against a New York team that couldn't seem to slow him down in the second half. It was the kind of performance the Browns expected from the former Ohio State standout when they signed him in free agency this past spring.
Less than two hours before kickoff, Hyde was still at the hospital. He kept coach Hue Jackson abreast on the situation at hand before getting an all-clear that the baby likely wouldn't arrive until the wee hours of Friday morning. Hyde arrived at FirstEnergy Stadium just before 7 p.m., changed into his uniform and hustled onto the field for pre-game warmups.
When it came time to play, Hyde channeled that confluence of emotions into a stirring performance. Although admittedly (and understandably) preoccupied on the sideline, he said he was as focused as ever while on the field.
"I was excited already. It was my birthday so I was already excited for that. I was excited we had a game. Then I was excited when I knew my son was coming," Hyde said, "so it was so much to be excited for.
"It was a little overwhelming, but I think I handled it well."
Hyde's steady play likely also helped rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield establish himself as the team's starting quarterback going forward. Mayfield, who replaced an injured Tyrod Taylor late in the second quarter, was lights out in his regular-season debut and able to lean on a ground game that came to life after halftime.
"Unbelievable. I can't put myself in his shoes, but I would imagine it's pretty tough to have to come to work when he's having a baby," Mayfield said.
"Tremendous amount of respect for him for doing that, and then he obviously rushed out of the stadium and showed up to the hospital before the baby was fully out. I'm happy for him. It's an exciting time."
Hyde will hope to continue that momentum this weekend against the Raiders in Oakland. And this time, he won't have a baby on the way.
"I'm kind of glad that it worked out the way it did because he finished the game, ran extremely hard and made some tough runs," Jackson said.
"He is everything we thought he would be. He has handled himself well too, and he is going to continue to grow and get better."