Browns live up to favorites' role, thanks to Mayfield

By Jeff Fogle  (VSiN City newsletter) 

September 21, 2018 12:18 AM

Baker Mayfield era begins in Cleveland with a dramatic come-from-behind win. Plus, the Boston Red Sox clinch the AL East on the way to the home-field advantage throughout the MLB Playoffs.

NFL: What a night for Baker Mayfield as Cleveland gets first win since 2016 

Bad luck if you bet the NY Jets “against Tyrod Taylor.” That worked out great at first with a 14-3 first-half advantage. Baker Mayfield showed why he should have been the Cleveland Browns starter all along with an 18-3 second-half comeback that had Cleveland Browns fans celebrating long into the night. 

Cleveland (-3) 21, NY Jets 17 

Yards-per-Play: NY Jets 4.3, Cleveland 4.4

Total Yardage: NY Jets 268, Cleveland 323

Third Down Pct: NY Jets 40%, Cleveland 39%

Turnovers: NY Jets 3, Cleveland 0

Rushing Yards: NY Jets 107, Cleveland 133

Passing Stats: NY Jets 15-31-2-161, Cleveland 21-37-0-190

TD Drive Lengths: NY Jets 28-63, Cleveland 69-75

Best if we break up the Cleveland passing line for the two QBs…

Taylor: 4-14-0-19 (3 sacks for 22 yards)

Mayfield: 17-23-0-201 (1 sack for 8 yards)

Taylor was awful…though it’s not clear when he started feeling the effects of what was later determined to be a concussion. Mayfield was ready for his moment. He led two touchdown drives and caught a two-point conversion. Most importantly, he showed poise down the stretch with the game on the line that you generally don’t see from NFL rookies

You didn’t see that from Sam Darnold in his third start. He’s still best as a game manager with a lead. Interceptions follow him when he’s NOT sitting on a lead. Not a good second half here after a bad home loss to Miami last week.

Cleveland moves to 1-1-1, and isn’t that far from 3-0 considering how close the non-wins vs. Pittsburgh and New Orleans were. Jets fall to 1-2, with the victory driven by a slew of Detroit turnovers in the season opener.  

Fun game to watch. Fans have been waiting for exciting new blood at quarterback for a few years. Will be interesting to see how the market adjusts to Mayfield as the (presumed) starting QB. Ed Salmons of the Westgate had Taylor and Mayfield rated dead even in an article that ran today on ESPN’s website. That won’t be the perception moving forward. 

Some remembrances Thursday from both Jimmy Vaccaro and Vinny Magliulo on twitter about the Jets visiting the Browns in the first ever Monday Night Football game back in 1970. Then the NFL Network broadcast referenced that moment of TV history Thursday night. Let’s check out the box score from THAT Jets/Browns game... 

September 21, 1970

Cleveland (plus 3.5) 31, NY Jets 21 

Yards-per-Play: NY Jets 6.8, Cleveland 3.9

Total Yardage: NY Jets 454, Cleveland 221

Turnovers: NY Jets 4, Cleveland 0

Rushing Yards: NY Jets 168, Cleveland 76

Passing Stats: NY Jets 19-33-3-286, Cleveland 12-27-0-145

Wow! Jets killed them. But Cleveland won the turnover battle 4-0 and had two non-offensive touchdowns to pull the upset. 

In a second, I’ll link to a quick NFL Films recap of the game used for highlight shows, and the box score from Football Reference. You’ll notice that the NFL Films version doesn’t talk about the one-sided stats. This was Cleveland’s first game in the AFC, coming over from the NFL after the merger. That was the theme, oddly starting with the kickoff return by Homer Jones in the third quarter, before cycling back to show a TD pass from the first quarter. 

Click here to see brief NFL Films recap

Click here to see game summary from Football Reference

Joe Namath, “at his best under the bright lights,” gets credit for turning “the rout into a barnburner” by cutting NYJ’s deficit to three points. This on a night where Matt Snell rushed for 108 yards on just 16 carries…while Emerson Boozer had 96 combined yards and two touchdown runs. Namath threw three interceptions. 

Marketing, baby! Even in 1970. Anyway, thought it would be fun to look up the stats with people remembering the game during the day.

NFL: Week 3 “market watch”

Here are Thursday night point spreads from the South Point for the rest of the NFL weekend. No dramatic changes from the last time we looked.


Indianapolis at Philadelphia (-6.5/47.5)

Cincinnati at Carolina (-3/43.5)

Tennessee at Jacksonville (no line pending status of Mariota)

New Orleans at Atlanta (-3/53.5)

Denver at Baltimore (-5/44)

NY Giants at Houston (-6/41.5)

Oakland at Miami (-3.5/44)

Green Bay (-2.5/45.5) at Washington

Buffalo at Minnesota (-16.5/41)

San Francisco at Kansas City (-6.5/55.5)

LA Chargers at the LA Rams (-7/48) 

Chicago (-5.5/37.5) at Arizona

Dallas at Seattle (-1/41.5)

New England (-7/53) at Detroit

Monday Night

Pittsburgh (-1/53.5) at Tampa Bay 

While the South Point still has Green Bay at -2.5 at Washington, many other stores have gone to the full 3. Respected money likes the Packers below the key number. San Francisco moved up a half-a-point as a home favorite over Kansas City. Chicago dropped a half-a-point as a road favorite in Arizona. New England rose to a key number at -7 in Detroit in the Sunday night “teacher vs. pupil” showdown. 

College Football: Forget what you thought you knew about Temple-Tulsa

If you were like most football (or sports) fans, you were only scoreboard watching Thursday night’s Temple/Tulsa game. Temple jumped ahead early. Temple seemed in control most of the night. Temple won 31-17…case closed. It was much wilder than all that…

Temple (-6) 31, Tulsa 17 

Yards-per-Play: Tulsa 3.8, Temple 5.3

Total Yardage: Tulsa 403, Temple 300

Third Downs: Tulsa 57%, Temple 33%

Turnovers: Tulsa 5, Temple 2 

Rushing Yards: Tulsa 208, Temple 191

Passing Stats: Tulsa 22-41-3-195, Temple 8-21-2-109

TD Drive Lengths: Tulsa 75-53, Temple 55-66

Temple scored defensive TD’s on an interception return and a fumble return. Look at Temple’s awful passing line! If you actually read those categories instead of just scrolling through them, it might have struck you that Tulsa gained more than 400 yards on less than 4.0 yards-per-play. Doesn’t seem possible. It is, because Tulsa ran more than 100 plays! You can see that Tulsa converted 57% of their third downs. Not shown…an 80% mark of 4/5 on fourth downs! 

Basically, Temple couldn’t get Tulsa off the field unless there was a turnover. But, there was a slew of turnovers. Hard to trust either team moving forward off those performances. Tulsa falls to 1-3. Temple is 2-2, but the losses were to Villanova and Buffalo. (Amazingly, Temple’s other win was a blowout of the Maryland team that beat Texas.)

MLB Thursday: Boston wins the AL East; Atlanta close to clinching NL East 

You knew the Boston Red Sox wanted to officially clinch the division on the home field of their hated archrival the New York Yankees. Didn’t happen the first two games of this series. Finally did Thursday evening. 

Boston (plus 140) 11, NY Yankees 6

Total Bases Plus Walks: Boston 29, New York 23

Starting Pitchers: Rodriguez 3.2 IP, 5 ER, Tanaka 4 IP, 5 ER

Bullpen: Boston 5.1 IP, 1 ER, New York 5 IP, 5 ER

After several weeks of Masahiro Tanaka looking great while Luis Severino floundered, we had a reversal in this series. Will make the wildcard pitching choice even more difficult. Yankees fall to 93-59, now just 1.5 games ahead of Oakland for home field in that knockout. Boston is 104-49.

Other Thursday results involving playoff contenders…

*Atlanta (-145) beat Philadelphia 8-3. Not quite a clincher…but the NL East race is over barring a few miracles. Atlanta moves to 85-68, while Philadelphia falls to 78-74. That’s a 6.5-game Atlanta lead with only nine and 10 games left to play respectively. As we speak, it will only take 89 wins for the Braves to close it out. That will drop with each Philadelphia loss. If the Phillies close 10-0, the Braves only have to go 4-5 to play in October. Phils probably won’t close 10-0! 

*Oakland (-130) beat the LA Angels 21-3. A’s are now 92-61 as they get back within arm’s reach of the Yankees.

*Cleveland (-215) LOST to the Chicago White Sox 5-4 in 11 innings. Cleveland falls to 85-67.

No late Thursday finishers, so let’s update our pennant race shorthand…

NL East: Atlanta plus 17, Philadelphia plus 4

NL Central: Chicago plus 26, Milwaukee plus 21, St. Louis plus 15

NL West: LA Dodgers plus 17, Colorado plus 12, Arizona plus 5

NL Wildcards (2 spots): Milwaukee plus 21, St. Louis plus 15, Colorado plus 12

AL East: Boston plus 55, New York plus 34

AL Central: Cleveland plus 18

AL West: Houston plus 38, Oakland plus 31

AL Wildcards (2 spots): New York plus 34, Oakland plus 31

Be sure you watch VSiN programming all through the weekend for the latest betting market and sports news developments. You can watch our livestream online, or enjoy us on fuboTV. Of course, we’re always on Sirius XM 204 so you can listen in your car or at home. 

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