The Browns never had the lead, but Baker Mayfield sensed something good brewing.
It was Week 9, Cleveland was riding a three-game losing streak and the one-loss Chiefs were in town. A few days earlier, head coach Hue Jackson was removed as head coach and Todd Haley was out as offensive coordinator. Freddie Kitchens was the new offensive coordinator.
The Chiefs scored touchdowns on their first three possessions. The Browns, though, kept pace after coming up short on their opening drive. A nine-play, 79-yard drive at the end of the first half drew Cleveland within a touchdown.
Kansas City took control in the second half, scoring touchdowns on back-to-back drives and mixing in a blocked punt to down Cleveland, 37-21. Still, Mayfield was noticeably upbeat after the game. The Browns followed with wins in five of their next seven games to end the season with plenty of momentum.
Months later, as he reflected during an ESPN NFL Live interview Wednesday from the Super Bowl in Atlanta, Mayfield went back to that peculiar moment -- feeling good after a loss -- as the turning point in Cleveland's 2018 season.
"I felt like we had them in the first half. It was really close," Mayfield said. "We just had a few plays not go our way. Just to see we were competing at that time, the Chiefs were on a roll. Looking back on it, we realized at that point we have something here."
"That point in the season was really fun."
Mayfield credited Kitchens, who is now the team's head coach, as a major player in the turnaround but said it would have never happened if not for the strong character in Cleveland's locker room. Along with the Browns' vocal leaders, Mayfield cited the team's lead-by-example players, such as fellow rookies Nick Chubb and Denzel Ward, as catalysts in the strong finish.
"Believing in it is one thing and having people to trust the game plan, but going out there and executing is another," Mayfield said. "It came down to our guys just believing in the plan and doing their jobs. Every person did their 1/11th on the team."
Mayfield hit on a number of other subjects during his countless string of interviews Wednesday on Radio Row.
-- While praising the leadership of Chubb and Ward, Mayfield indicated he'll be taking that aspect of his game to another level in his second NFL season.
"We have a bunch of young guys, they're starting to believe in it. We're starting to come together and that's very important," Mayfield said. "It's very important for me to take that vocal leadership role and kind of roll with it."
-- Giants running back Saquon Barkley on Thursday was named the NFL's Pepsi Rookie of the Year, an award decided exclusively by fan vote. Mayfield, who was named the Pro Football Writers Association Rookie of the Year earlier in the month, won seven fan-voted Rookie of the Week awards during the season.
Mayfield and Barkley will learn Saturday who wins the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year at the NFL's Honors ceremony.
"I think it's 50-50," Mayfield said. "Saquon is a good buddy of mine. We have a good back and forth on it right now. It's just a blessing to be there and in consideration for it. To think about where I was a year ago and to fast forward to now, it's been a dream I've been living through. I'm happy to be here, obviously I want the award but Saquon's a good friend of mine. He's a great player as well."
-- Mayfield's appearance on "The Jim Rome Show" gave him a platform to discuss his work with Cleveland's Providence House, Ohio's first crisis nursery, which provides emergency shelter and care for children in crisis who are at risk of abuse or neglect while offering family support services to strengthen and stabilize families long term.
At the 23rd annual Deck the House Auction in December, Mayfield played a big role in raising more than $100,000 for Providence House.
"To be able to have that opportunity is very special," Mayfield said. "To be able to give back to a city that's believed in me and supported me, and to be able to impact the youth and give every kid a chance and have the same opportunities as everyone else, that's the important thing about it.
"I don't want any of the credit but I want those kids to have the same chance I did."