It took four weeks, but we've finally bore witness to the 2019 Cleveland Browns offense we all imagined when examining their roster.
Baker Mayfield helped bring that paper dream to life Sunday. The quarterback engineered the offense with confidence and rhythm from the Browns' second possession through the end of the contest, resulting in a 40-25 win and a big boost in the hope that this team can indeed produce wins with more than just its stifling defense.
Mayfield's individual performance earned him his first plus-100 passer rating of 2019, his second 300-plus passing yards performance and his second win of the season. It also secured his first feel-good postgame presser, as it happened via a rout powered by an unrelenting Browns offense, which was a far cry from the team's first win of 2019 back in Week 2.
For the first time this season, it felt as if the Browns were a force to be reckoned with in all three phases of the game.
"I think that's the best part about this team," Mayfield said afterward. "We know how good we can be, but it's like I said earlier as well, that's the frustrating part about how we started. We knew how good we could be. We just needed to do our jobs, and that's what our guys did this week; focused, heads down and worked."
The work began with Mayfield and the return of the true starting line, thanks to Chris Hubbard's involvement after missing Week 3 due to injury. The entire offense benefited from No. 74's presence, as Mayfield surveyed the field within a pocket that seemed more consistent across all five blockers. Nick Chubb and Dontrell Hilliard enjoyed its benefits, too, combining to rush 26 times for 192 yards and four touchdowns.
The big one, of course, came via Chubb's game-breaking speed. But thanks to the blocking of Eric Kush, who pulled out in front on a toss to the right and took care of two defenders in immediate succession, Chubb didn't have to make anyone miss. He just had to hit the hole and sprint to paydirt.
"He can roll. I think people underestimate his speed," Mayfield said of Chubb. "Once he gets to that second level, he's got true break-away speed. People say he's a power back, which he is, it takes more than one guy to bring him down. But, he's got that speed to make a play like that."
This is the type of afternoon folks expected from the Browns when they went out and added Odell Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt, the latter of whom is still waiting to make his debut in brown and orange. The people expected points, a lot of them, from start to finish.
And while this is the NFL, in which it is difficult to reach the end zone, this type of talent should produce some points. At the very least, it should create mismatches that the Browns can exploit.
That's precisely what happened Sunday. As Baltimore rightfully paid plenty of attention to Beckham, the rest of the offense flourished, starting with Beckham's best bud Jarvis Landry and continuing through unlikely candidate Ricky Seals-Jones, who surprised onlookers but not head coach Freddie Kitchens, who told reporters afterward he knew what Seals-Jones was capable of.
"We trust our guys when we put them out there," Kitchens said. "If they're on our team, they're good enough to play. So, we're going to trust them when they go out there. … That's why we can come out with a tight end that we picked up off the street two weeks ago. He lines up and plays well, because we trusted that he could do that."
Seals-Jones did just that, making three important catches, including one for the Browns' first score of the afternoon. If you'd have said the Browns would put up 33 more points before it was all said and done, people might have scoffed at such a prediction. But that's what the Browns did, and what they aim to do moving forward.
After all, the Browns have a whole band of doubters to prove wrong, with none carrying a larger chip on his shoulder than their leader, Mayfield.
"The win is great, but I hope everybody keeps the same energy," Mayfield said. "Threw us in the trash. We won't forget it."