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    Trevor Bauer says the decision on whether he'll return to the Indians' rotation or pitch out of the bullpen for the remainder of the season and postseason is out of his hands.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Manager Terry Francona, after watching Trevor Bauer throw a three-inning simulated game Tuesday afternoon at Progressive Field, said it was a "step in the right direction."

    Bauer kiddingly told reporters, "I told Tito I was available for tonight."

    The Indians, who clinched the AL Central on Saturday, open a three-game series against the White Sox tonight.

    "I'm glad he feels that way," said Francona, "but I don't think that's going to happen, but it's nice to hear him say that."

    Bauer is recovering from a stress fracture in his right leg. He suffered the injury on Aug. 11 when White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu hit him with a line drive. He's been working his way back ever since.

    Last week Bauer threw bullpen sessions on Thursday and Saturday. Tuesday was the first time he's faced batters. Bauer felt his injury restricted him on Saturday, but said that was not the case Tuesday.

    "I haven't seen the video yet to confirm, but my feeling coming off the mound is no, it wasn't," said Bauer.

    Francona said he'll sit down with Bauer and the medical staff to determine their next step. The Indians want to get him back in games as quickly as possible, but they don't want to put him at risk because of his injury.

    "We need to sit and talk with the medical staff and feel what's in his best interest," said Francona. "We know Trevor wants to pitch. From our standpoint, the quicker we can get him in a game, without risk, the better. But that's where you gotta listen to the medical guys, too."

    The Indians were sure Bauer would keep his arm in shape, but they need to know if he can field his position and cover first base.

    "I think I have to pass some tests fielding my position, covering first and some bunts, stuff like that," said Bauer. "Based on the information I have right now, I would feel comfortable execution wise (regarding his pitches) being able to go into a big-league game. So we're close."

    Bauer said facing hitters on Tuesday helped.

    "It helps a lot because then it's more about trying to execute a sequence (of pitches)," said Bauer. "There are counts. There's feedback on your stuff. It's still hard to get the adrenaline up to game levels, but there's definitely more there than in a bullpen (session).

    "You get to two strikes and go, 'OK, I want to put this guy away.' Or you go 2-0 and it's 'I want to throw a strike here.' So, it definitely simulates the game a lot closer, and then really drives the external focus, because you're looking at a familiar setting, guys in the box, and just a familiar look. A lot of the internal stuff that you notice in the bullpen, you don't notice out there, because there's external stimulus."

    Francona said Bauer threw between 17 and 19 pitches in each inning.

    The Indians, counting Tuesday, have 13 games left in the season. It's unclear if that's enough time to put Bauer back in the rotation or have him pitch out of the bullpen for the postseason.

    "I don't control that, so you'll have to talk to somebody else about that," said Bauer. "I say this all the time, I pitch when they tell me to pitch, whether that's in the starting rotation, in the bullpen, not at all. That's their decision."

    Bubbly all around: Cody Allen and others chipped in to buy Indians players, coaches and staff members each a bottle of champagne to celebrate the team's third straight AL Central title. The bottles, enclosed in black boxes, were displayed on a table in the Tribe's locker room on Tuesday. The boxes were being autographed by each player on the team.

    It's safe to say the champagne was a bit more expensive than the kind that was sprayed around the clubhouse on Saturday after a 15-0 division-clinching win over Detroit.

    Easy does it: Edwin Encarnacion was rested for the second straight game Tuesday. He left Saturday's game after twisting his right ankle, but Francona said Encarnacion was fine and could have played Tuesday night.

    No Abreu vs. Indians: Jose Abreu will miss this three-game series against the Indians because of an infection in his right thigh due to an ingrown hair. He needed a surgical procedure to get rid of the infection.

    Abreu is a career .320 (16-for-50) with five homers and 12 RBI against Corey Kluber, who started against the White Sox on Tuesday.

    Finally: Jose Ramirez is the first Tribe third baseman (75 percent of his games played at third) to drive in 100 or more runs in a season since Travis Fryman drove in 106 in 2000. Ramirez is just the third third baseman in MLB history to have a season in which he's hit 30-plus homers, stolen 30-plus bases, driven in 100-plus runs and scored 100-plus runs.

    Howard Johnson and David Wright, both of the Mets, did it in 1989 and 2007, respectively. Ramirez is the first player at any position to have that kind of season since Milwaukee's Ryan Braun did it in 2012.

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    Bill Landis and Doug Lesmerises with a quick hit video on the redshirt freshman taking on a bigger role in the OSU secondary. Watch video

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Second-year Ohio State defensive back Shaun Wade, the No. 17 overall recruit in the Class of 2017, has found a role as the slot cornerback, lining up over the slot receiver when the Buckeyes bring in five defensive backs in their nickel package.

    Wade played as many snaps last week against TCU as Tuf Borland and Baron Browning, the two players rotating at middle linebacker. He played more snaps that Jeffrey Okudah, who is the third man rotating among the two outside corner spots with Damon Arnette and Kendall Sheffield.

    So the redshirt freshman has a major role with the Buckeyes. But could Wade be asked to do even more?

    In the latest BuckWhys, our quick-hit series of videos answering questions in about a minute, Bill Landis and I think about what Wade has shown so far and what that may mean for what is asked of him the rest of this season.

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    With Gordon gone, Callaway must be reliable on and off the field. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- In front of a national television audience tonight against the Jets, Antonio Callaway has a chance to prove that there's Life After Josh Gordon.

    With Gordon off to chase his Super Bowl dreams in New England, Callaway will be out to ease your pain.

    "I've got to step up,'' said the Browns' fourth-round pick, a man of few words. "I'm ready.''

    What's he capable of?

    "I can do a lot,'' he said.

    With Gordon taking the practice field with the Patriots on Wednesday after a Monday trade, Callaway's out to show he can excel.

    His 47-yard TD catch that tied the game with 1:16 left in the Sunday's 21-18 loss to the Saints certainly was evidence of his talent. Turning on his afterburner speed, Callaway raced into the end zone behind cornerback Ken Crawley and caught a perfectly-thrown ball from Tyrod Taylor in full stride while keeping both feet inbounds.

    It was a Gordon-like catch, and helped Browns fans forget for a moment that their potential superstar was on his way out the door. According to Next Gen Stats, Callaway recorded the third-fastest time in the NFL on that catch behind two by Tyreek Hill, hitting a top speed of 21.48 mph.

    A closer look at Callaway's catch

    "I did (rewatch it) about five times because each time it was like he was getting faster at the end,'' said coach Hue Jackson. "The burst to go get the ball was phenomenal. It was good. Obviously, it was a heck of a play. Hell of a throw and a heck of a catch."

    At first, no one was really sure whether Taylor's target was Callaway coming in from the right or Jarvis Landry, who was streaking down the middle.

    "When he threw it, I thought, 'Oh my,''' said Jackson. "I didn't think we could get to it. All of a sudden, I see this guy go vroom and he runs right under the ball. What a play."

    Landry, tasked by offensive coordinator Todd Haley with taking Callaway under his wing, admitted he thought that deep ball was for him.

    "I was like, 'damn, this is too far,''' he said. "And then I peeked outside and I saw Callaway and then I saw him put his head down and dig again, and he made the catch. That was definitely another gear.''

    Duke Johnson, the first to celebrate with Callaway after the catch, believes there's more where that came from. But the rookie and the rest of the Browns' receivers will have to be on point tonight. The Jets are tied for the NFL lead with five interceptions.

    "We definitely want Callaway to make more plays like that but do it consistently,'' said Johnson. "Coach Haley calls it yo-yos. You don't want to be a yo-yo. You want to be a guy that's consistent every day. Just push and try to be that."

    With Gordon gone, and Landry dealing with a knee injury suffered against the Saints, Callaway will be called upon again.

    Callaway, with some off-the-field baggage of his own, must not only be reliable on the field but off.

    Callaway traffic hearing reset for Oct. 4; lawyer contests pot charge

    "Absolutely, he ain't got no choice,'' said Landry. "But he's definitely a guy that we're going to count on, we're going to lean on. We know he can make plays and Sunday was a prime example of that and given more opportunities I'm sure he'll make more plays."

    And what does a highlight reel play like that do for a young player's confidence?

    "Everything,'' said Landry. "It does a lot, obviously, for the guys around him but it does a lot for the coaches and it does a lot for (Taylor)."

    "Of course he realizes his opportunity,'' said Taylor. "Even when Josh was here, he realized he could be playing more, but of course, that role has ... gotten bigger for him now. He welcomes that opportunity. As you see, he's a natural playmaker, and it's my job to get him the ball."

    Jackson, who's taken Callaway under his wing, was proud.

    "Obviously, the catch to tie the game last week is a confidence booster for any young player,'' he said. "It's time. I think he'll do well. He has always competed hard, and he always works at it. It is another step for him. This Thursday night will be good for him."

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    Trevor Bauer is set to make his return to the mound this week for the Cleveland Indians. Will he have an impact in the playoffs?

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Trevor Bauer is coming back and the Cleveland Indians are that much closer to having all their ducks in a row as the playoffs draw near.

    Bauer is expected to start Friday against Boston after spending more than a month on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his right leg. He will make three appearances before the end of the regular season, according to manager Terry Francona.

    As the club gradually works Bauer back into shape, the most pressing question becomes how will Bauer's return shape the postseason starting rotation for Francona?

    In this week's Cleveland Baseball talk podcast, Paul Hoynes and Joe Noga talk about what the Indians can expect from the All-Star righty and whether he could have a bigger impact in the rotation or out of the bullpen.

    We also talk about Jason Kipnis' recent surge on offense, Carlos Carrasco's unheralded run and Hoynsie's desire to listen to whale song in a hyperbaric chamber during the offseason.

    Got a question you want answered on the podcast? Submit it to Paul or Joe on Twitter or via email.

    Listen along to the show and leave your comments. You can download the audio here.

    Subscribe on iTunes.
    Subscribe on Google Play.

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    Urban Meyer will be more of a "game manager," he says. He can, because he has coordinators he can trust.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The cost of offensive play calling peace of mind? About $1.8 million. The effect? About 608 yards and 56 points per game. Ohio State's offense is rolling. Urban Meyer doesn't plan on messing on with it.

    Meyer said this week that he'll be more of a "game manager" when it comes to the offensive play calling. He'll leave things, mostly, to coordinators Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson. OSU paid to keep both last winter, $ 1 million for Day as he entertained overtures from the NFL and other college programs, and $800,000 for Wilson, who would be on the short list for most programs looking for a play caller if he ever became available.

    Play-calling clarity can be expensive.

    But isn't it nice when the Buckeyes have it?

    That's not always been the case since Meyer's been here. It was at the beginning, culminating in a national championship with Tom Herman as coordinator in 2014. It was abysmal in 2015-16, with Tim Beck and Ed Warinner never finding a rhythm and Meyer looking for a fix by leaning on the quarterback run, sometimes too much.

    The dysfunction got in the way of the most talented team in the country coming up short of repeating as national champions in 2015.

    Now, with Day and Wilson, it's smooth. More importantly, Meyer seems to be trusting it.

    "I think we've had some success early but it's still a long road," Day said Wednesday. "I think every day things go well and you get a little more faith put in you. ... We have a bunch of young coaches who are really talented. I think as a group Coach believes in us, and he's a part of it too. So we're in there together trying to solve the problems and put the best product on the field."

    Meyer's voice isn't disappearing from the play-calling structure. He'll have input, and veto power whenever he feels like wielding it. But perhaps he saw in the three games he was forced to watch on television what his offense can look like when the operation is a bit more streamlined.

    Day and Wilson are clicking. You can see it as you watch Ohio State's offense operate with little in the way of bumps. Is it perfect? No. Day spoke of needed improvements in the red zone, how to balance quarterback run and just general consistency on Wednesday.

    But the offense moves with an efficiency and purpose, including last week against a fast and sound TCU defense, that's not always been apparent over the last few years.

    "Chemistry means a lot for the offense," quarterback Dwayne Haskins said. "Being on the same page with Coach Wilson and Coach Day helps out a lot. I feel like as a whole offense, we're doing a great job of being on the same page."

    Part of that is because there's no confusion about the structure.

    Day and Wilson work in tandem, but Day is the primary play caller. They're fast-thinking offensive minds adept at tempo who can collaborate and spit out a call quickly so as to not slow down the offense. The pace varies, but when the Buckeyes are going fast, they go as fast as anyone in the country. Can't do that without the coordinators being in sync.

    "Going into the season this is what I was hoping for," Meyer said. "Obviously the results were very positive."

    It wasn't always clear that it would be.

    There was a change in the structure this year, as far as we understand it. Wilson was the play caller last year, still working in tandem in Day but the main guy nonetheless. Day is the play caller now, a sweetener in the three-year deal that kept him in Columbus when the Tennessee Titans tried to lure him back to the NFL and Mississippi State apparently tried to hire him as head coach.

    Spring consternation about that new dynamic didn't yield much in the way of answers. The fear was things playing out like they did in 2015 and 2016, when there seemed to be some in-season shuffle in the chain and little in the way of clarity when it came to who was actually calling the plays. Hey, Tom Herman seems to be going through that same thing now at Texas.

    Wonder if there's any common thread there ...

    Not a problem at Ohio State. So why mess with something that isn't broken?

    That even means Day staying down on the field to call the plays, a new move necessitated by his role as acting head coach after he spent last season coaching up in the press box.

    "There's been a comfort level there for the quarterbacks and for myself calling it on the field, between series communicating," Day said.

    It shows.

    And now, with Day back to just being offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on the field and Wilson surveying things from above, there may be even more room for improvement.

    "I do think now this week I'll be able to sit down on the bench with the guys on offense, the quarterbacks, and discuss what happened on the last series, make some in-game adjustments right there on the bench," Day said. "Maybe the last couple weeks I wasn't able to do that because I was watching the defense and special teams."

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    Urban Meyer said Thursday that Bosa underwent surgery for a core muscle injury.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa underwent surgery for a core muscle injury this week, Urban Meyer announced on Thursday. Meyer said the Buckeyes hope to have Bosa back soon, but there is no timetable for his return.

    Bosa will not play on Saturday against Tulane.

    He suffered what Meyer called a abdominal/groin injury on the third play of the second half last week against TCU and did not return.

    "We hope to get him back as soon as possible. We're not sure when that will be," Meyer said Thursday on his radio show on 97.1 The Fan in Columbus. "A lot of it is the recovery. He's obviously one of the best players in football, but even a better person from an incredible family. So prayers, hug him up, and let's go."

    Bosa currently leads the Buckeyes with 14 tackles, including six for loss, and four sacks.

    Ohio State noted in a release later on Thursday that a Bosa (Nick or his older brother Joey) has been on the field for 71 of the Buckeyes' last 72 games.

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    Jarvis Landry suffered a knee injury against the Saints, while Damarious Randall injured a heel.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Browns receiver Jarvis Landry and free safety Damarious Randall will both be active against the Jets tonight, a source says.

    Landry suffered a knee injury against the Saints and Damarious Randall suffered a heel injury. Both were limited all week and listed as questionable.

    Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle) has already been ruled out, and linebacker Christian Kirksey is doubtful with his ankle and shoulder injuries. Kirksey also missed last week's 21-18 loss to the Saints. Ogbah will be replaced by Chris Smith and James Burgess will likely fill in for Kirksey.

    Landry, who leads the Browns with 12 catches for 175 but hasn't caught a TD pass yet, hopes to help more.

    "Naturally being a competitor, yeah, you do, but at the same time just understanding the grand scheme of things,'' he said. "It comes back to ... taking advantage of my targets, taking advantage of my opportunities and making the most of them when I do touch the ball.''

    Jets coach Todd Bowles called Landry one of the "two or three best receivers in the league."

    Jackson on Callaway replacing Gordon: 'It's time'

    The Browns are favored for the first time since December of 2015, by three points against the 1-1 Jets.

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    Axe throwing may not be intense exercise, but it's a fun, healthful and challenging way to spend an hour or two with friends. Watch video

    VALLEY VIEW, Ohio -- No one throws axes for fitness. Neither, though, does one throw axes without getting at least a little exercise.

    Therein lies the beauty of axe throwing, a game born in Canada and now spreading like wildfire through the lower 48, including Ohio. Neither tough nor easy, but surprisingly physical, it's a healthy, challenging and ridiculously fun way to while away an evening.

    Just watch it on the alcohol. Drink one or two beers while playing and you'll nullify any and all potential gains.

    In fact, there's an area location offering axe throwing for exercise: Class Axe Throwing ( in Valley View, the local branch of a national franchise. It has been in business about 18 months, managed by Matthew Dixon.

    Zachary Lewis Zachary Lewis

    Have a suggestion for an activity you think I should try? Send me an e-mail.

    'Rowing for Fitness' is a workout from stem to stern

    Axe throwing is a social, but not a family, activity (kids under 15 aren't allowed at Class Axe).

    Unlike many of the other games, sports, and equipment I've tried over the years, axe throwing is fairly simple to master.

    The basic two-hand throw entails lining up your thumbs on the handle, holding the axe (four lbs.) behind your head, and giving it a gentle heave of about 15 feet, using just a smidge of core strength. Flick your wrists or lean into the throw too heavily, and the axe will spin too rapidly or veer to the side. Whether and where the axe sticks depends entirely on positioning and timing.

    It's also possible to throw with one arm, using a quick, karate chop-like motion. During my visit, I was able to hit the bullseye several times with both styles, and neither one yielded a hit on one of the target's two game-winning blue circles.

    Don't get me wrong. Axe throwing is no workout. There's no need to wear athletic clothing or hit the showers afterward.

    But it's not nothing, either. After an hour of throwing, my triceps and shoulders were legitimately fatigued and my shirt was damp from the effort of jogging back and forth to retrieve axes. Given the choice between axe throwing and video gaming, I'd pick the former every time.

    Now to rope in some others. Throwing solo was fun, but throwing with my wife and friends is going to be a blast.

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    The holdup in the deal was apparently the Patriots insisting that the seventh-round pick they're getting back from the Browns is no longer conditional

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- On Wednesday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick told the New England media that he couldn't talk about Josh Gordon because the trade hadn't yet been finalized.

    Shortly thereafter, Gordon jogged out to the Patriots' practice field wearing his new No. 10, and the trade was done.

    Now, it's come to light that the holdup in the deal was apparently the Patriots insisting that the seventh-round pick they're getting back in the deal is no longer conditional, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

    Previously, the Browns would have only had to give back the 2019 seventh-rounder if Gordon weren't active for 10 games. Now, they have to give it up regardless. So it's Gordon and a 2019 seventh for a 2019 fifth: The Patriots moved back two rounds for an opportunity to rejuvenate the career of one of the most talented receivers in the NFL.

    Getting a fifth and giving up a seventh amounts to the Browns' receiving a sixth-rounder for Gordon from the trade chart standpoint. A sixth doesn't usually get you much -- unless of course you land the greatest quarterback of all time in Tom Brady.

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    Here's what I think will happen tonight when the 0-1-1 Browns host the 1-1 Jets and Sam Darnold. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- For starters, I don't consider this a must-win game against the 1-1 Jets tonight. I like to reserve that phrase for a game that either eliminates a team from the playoff hunt or from the playoffs themselves.

    The 0-1-1 Browns have only lost one game so far, and it's too early to call this a must-win.

    It's important to snap the 19-game winless streak and finally get in the win column after two near-victories over the Steelers and Saints, but must-win is being overused for this contest. Must-win for what? The playoffs? Almost no one outside of the Browns locker room expects them to make the playoffs this year.

    Must win for Hue Jackson's job? Does anyone think Jimmy and Dee Haslam would replace him before their franchise quarterback ever steps on the field?

    No, it's a vitally important game, but the Browns can still salvage the season and reach expectations if they don't beat the Jets tonight.

    5 things to watch

    Having said that, I think they will win, but it won't be easy by any stretch. Sam Darnold is playing very well, and the Jets are an extremely well-coached team on both sides of the ball.

    Darnold has something to prove after the Browns passed on him at No. 1 overall, and former Browns Isaiah Crowell, Terrelle Pryor and Buster Skrine will all have a chip on their shoulder.

    In order for the Browns to win, the defense, led by Myles Garrett, will have to continue it's ball-hawking and swarming ways. The Browns lead the NFL with eight takeaways, including three interceptions and five fumbles. Darnold, who likes to take shots downfield, threw two picks last week against the Dolphins, but also threw for 334 yards. After almost beating two Hall of Fame quarterbacks, the Browns will have a chance to try to confuse and rattle a rookie.

    The Jets are right behind the Browns with seven takeaways, including five interceptions.

    It's a huge game for Tyrod Taylor, who needs to win to keep Baker Mayfield on the bench. If the Browns lose this game, I believe they'll at least consider a switch to Mayfield for the next game in Oakland, which is a lot sooner than they wanted to.

    Emmanuel Ogbah (ankle) and tight end Seth DeValve (hamstring) have been ruled out for this game and linebacker Christian Kirksey (ankle, shoulder) is doubtful. But Jarvis Landry (knee) and Damarious Randall (heel) will play.

    I'm shaving a few points off the score I picked for the Plain Dealer, but still predicting the same outcome.

    My pick: Browns 23, Jets 20.

    My record: 1-0-1.

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    Josh Tomlin and the Cleveland Indians face James Shields and the Chicago White Sox at Progressive Field.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Here are the starting lineups for Thursday's game between the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox.

    What: Indians (85-66) vs. White Sox (59-92).
    When: 7:10 p.m.
    Where: Progressive Field.
    Broadcast: SportsTime Ohio, WTAM 1100 AM, WMMS 100.7 FM.


    Francisco Lindor SS
    Michael Brantley LF
    Jose Ramirez 2B
    Edwin Encarnacion DH
    Yonder Alonso 1B
    Yandy Diaz 3B
    Melky Cabrera RF
    Jason Kipnis CF
    Roberto Perez C

    Josh Tomlin (1-5, 6.63)


    Yoan Moncada 2B
    Yolmer Sanchez 3B
    Daniel Palka RF
    Avisail Garcia DH
    Omar Narvaez C
    Matt Davidson 1B
    Tim Anderson SS
    Ryan LaMarre LF
    Adam Engel CF

    James Shields (6-16, 4.58)


    Ryan Blankney HP
    Marty Foster 1B
    Mike Muchlinski 2B
    Mike Winters 3B (crew chief)

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    Is it OK to predict the Browns to win easily on Thursday night?

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- It is OK to pick the Browns to dominate another team?

    The inclination when predicting the Browns to win for the first time in 19 games is to suspect them to eke out a victory against an opponent in the Jets who have as many or more questions than the Browns have.

    But that, in my mind, is treating the Browns like they're different than the other 31 teams in the NFL, believing that they are burdened by their past failures, or somehow suffering under the onus of freeing beer refrigerators with chains on them.

    What if the Jets are just a lousy team hitting the road on the short week with a rookie quarterback, a team whose 1-1 record is propped up by a week one smothering of an overmatched Detroit team coached by an overmatched Bill Belichick knockoff?

    The Browns would have beaten the Lions in week one, also. The Jets would have lost to the Steelers. 

    The Browns lost at New Orleans in week two on a day when their kicker made nothing. The Jets lost at home to Miami in week two on a day when their kicker made 41- and 55-yard field goals to help make the game respectable after the Jets trailed 20-0 at the half.

    The Browns are better than the Jets, at home, with a veteran QB instead of rookie. Myles Garrett was controlled by the Saints last week, but he'll have a chance to get after Jets left tackle Kelvin Beachum, who struggled against Miami's Robert Quinn at times last week.

    By Football Outsiders metrics, both teams feature offenses that have struggled and defenses ranked in the top-10 of the league. The idea with this pick isn't to set up the coaching staff or quarterback for criticism, but if Todd Haley and Hue Jackson can't scheme up a way to attack the Jets, and if Tyrod Taylor can't make some throws that matter, then, yeah, they should be criticized.

    Because the Browns are just another team this season, a team in the bottom third fighting to climb toward the middle. Sure, they have some injuries. But they also have Garrett and Larry Ogunjobi and Denzel Ward, and a solid offensive line and running back options and Jarvis Landry.

    So yes, the Browns should win. The Jets are the bad team here. The Browns should be able to take advantage of that. It's just football. Normal football.

    Browns 27, Jets 13. 

    Mary Kay Cabot pick

    Dan Labbe pick

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    Cleveland Browns, New York Jets 1986 AFC playoffs double overtime: full game story

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Cleveland Browns' matchup against the New York Jets on Thursday night brings back memories for long-time fans of Mark Moseley, Mark Gastineau and others who played key roles in a overtime playoff win for the Browns after the 1986 season.

    Moseley's 27-yard field goal in the second overtime ended the third-longest game in NFL history and sent the Browns to the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 3, 1987.

    The Browns had rallied from 10 points down late in the fourth quarter to tie the  Jets. Moseley, signed as a replacement for the injured Matt Bahr, missed a 23-yard field goal earlier in overtime.

    The next week the Browns would lose in overtime to the Denver Broncos in a game that later would become known as "The Drive," because of a late drive led by Denver quarterback John Elway.

    Here is the game story, as it appeared in the next day's Plain Dealer.

    Browns survive Jets' crash
    Rally from 10 down to win it in 2nd OT

    By Tony Grossi
    Plain Dealer Reporter

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - The best and worst moments in Browns history unfolded in one exhilarating afternoon of football at the Stadium yesterday.

    More than four hours after the game started, Cleveland had its first playoff victory in 18 years.

    Down by 10 points to the New York Jets with 4:14 to go, the Browns rallied to tie at 20-20 with seven seconds left in regulation.

    browns-jets-bleacher-fans-1987.jpgBrowns fans in the bleachers during the 1986 playoff game against the Jets on Jan. 3, 1987. 

    Then they overcame a missed field goal by Mark Moseley from 23 yards in the first overtime before the veteran kicker atoned with the game-winner from 27 yards 2:02 into a second extra period.

    When the third-longest game in National Football League history had ended, the Browns emerged 23-20 victors over the gasping Jets, keeping their unforgettable season alive with record-setting performances on offense and defense.

    The Browns, 13-4 after their sixth straight victory, will play host in the AFC Championship Game next Sunday to the winner of today's Denver-New England playoff semifinal. That is the last stop before the Super Bowl.

    "I played nine years to get here," said tight end Ozzie Newsome, who hauled in six catches for 114 yards. "We will be ready."

    "I think we all had an opportunity to experience one of the finest games in the history of this sport," effused coach Marty Schottenheimer. "I have never experienced or seen a comeback like that."

    The furious rally was led by quarterback Bernie Kosar, who set playoff records with 33 completions in 64 attempts for 489 yards. Two uncharacteristic interceptions by Kosar in the fourth quarter set the stage for the climax.

    With the Jets holding a 13-10 lead in the fourth quarter, Kosar, frustrated in the middle periods, finally moved the Browns to the Jets' two. But on third down, the 23-year-old passer forced a ball to Webster Slaughter, who was double-covered. New York defensive back Russell Carter stole the pass in the corner of the end zone.

    At that point, who didn't recall the fateful Brian Sipe interception that ended the 1980 season. Today marks the sixth anniversary of that dark day in Cleveland sports history.

    After the Browns' defense forced the Jets to punt, Kosar took over at the Cleveland 17. Incredibly, his first pass, intended for Herman Fontenot, was intercepted by Jerry Holmes. Kosar had not thrown an interception since November and never had tossed two on successive passes.

    Many fans in the crowd of 78,106 fled to the exits, cursing another letdown.

    Before the non-believers had made it out, Jets running back Freeman McNeil bounced off the middle of the Browns' defensive pile, and raced around the right corner for a 25-yard touchdown. It gave the Jets their 20-10 lead.

    Kosar and the Browns took the field with 4:08 to play.

    "Bernie comes into the huddle and says, 'We're going to take this game,' " said left tackle Paul Farren. "It's incredible the way he brought us together as a unit, one play at a time."

    The play that started it all was an inexcusable roughing-the-passer penalty on Jets defensive end Mark Gastineau, long after a Kosar incompletion. Gastineau's mistake in judgment gave the Browns a first down at their 33.

    borwns-jets-1987-snow.jpgSnow is cleared from Cleveland Stadium before the 1986 playoff game on Jan. 3, 1987. 

    Five completions - two to Reggie Langhorne, two to Brian Brennan and one to Curtis Dickey - moved the Browns to the one at the two-minute warning.

    Kevin Mack plunged over guard Dan Fike for the touchdown, and Moseley's extra point made it 20-17, and gave the Browns hope.

    Moseley's onside kick was recovered by the Jets at the Browns' 45, but the relentless Cleveland defense moved them three yards back in three plays and forced another punt.

    The Browns took over at their 33 with :51 left. A pass interference penalty moved them to the Jets' 42. Kosar then lofted a pass to Slaughter, who picked it off the helmet of cornerback Carl Howard and fell to the five.

    After an incompletion, Schottenheimer sent in Moseley. The 13-year veteran poked it through from 22 yards to send the game into overtime.

    That's when the Cleveland defense, which sacked Jets' quarterbacks Pat Ryan and Ken O'Brien a playoff record-tying nine times, dug in.

    "We just felt if we could keep getting the ball in Bernie's hands, we'd win," said Carl (Big Daddy) Hairston, who had nine tackles and three sacks.

    The Jets won the overtime coin toss, but O'Brien, who replaced injured starter Ryan in the first half, could muster nothing.

    From the Cleveland 26, Kosar marched the Browns to the Jets' five, covering the last 35 yards on a pass to Langhorne against a rare New York blitz.

    Moseley was sent in again with 8:53 left in overtime. He missed the 23-yard attempt at the closed end, wide right.

    "I barely hit it," Moseley recounted. "I was off balance, falling away."

    The Jets were stopped on the next two possessions.

    "This was the best our defense has ever played," Schottenheimer said. "They kept making plays when they had to in the third down situations."

    The winning drive began at the Browns' 31 after Dave Jennings' playoff record 14th punt of the game. There was 2:38 left in the first overtime.

    By then, the beleaguered Jets' defense was physically spent. The Jets had no fuel in their tanks.

    "I didn't think they'd ever wear down, but they finally did," said center Mike Baab, who played the entire game with a sprained left knee.

    Mack, gaining strength as the game approached the four-hour mark, ran for four yards and a first down to the Browns' 41, then banged ahead for eight yards to midfield two plays later. From the Jets' 42, Brennan broke up an errant pass that was nearly intercepted by the Jets' Howard.

    "That was the biggest play of the game," Kosar said.

    Given another life, the Browns' offensive line finally took the game in their huge hands. Fontenot ran for seven yards. Then Mack, on three successive, bullish carries, gained 26 to take the Browns to the Jets' nine. The Browns gained 45 of their total 75 rushing yards on the last series of the game.

    The Jets called time to make Moseley think about his last miss.

    "It was probably the worst thing they could do," said Moseley, who had son five games in overtime over his distinguished career. "I'm a good concentrator."

    Moseley hammered the game-winner through the uprights at the devilish, open end of the Stadium.

    The fans, who stood and roared the entire 17 minutes and two seconds of overtime, went berserk.

    "Just before we said our prayer in the locker room, I told the players to listen," said Schottenheimer. "You could still hear the people cheering for us.

    "This is a victory, a game, a moment all of us will remember the rest of our lives."

    With a wink, Kosar whispered to a reporter, "Just another day at the office."

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    The Big Ten took a step down with several non conference losses last week. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - All of the preseason noise that crowned the Big Ten as the best conference in college football has all been reduced to a whisper.

    With the exception of Ohio State, the Big Ten has looked mediocre in non conference games over the first three weeks of the college football season.

    The Mid-American Conference, often the punching bag of the Big Ten, has two wins over the conference and likely more to come with Buffalo at Rutgers on Saturday.

    Last week, Northwestern lost at home to Akron, Maryland was blown out by Temple, Nebraska lost at home to Troy, Wisconsin lost at home to BYU and Illinois led South Florida 19-7 in the third quarter but allowed the game's final 18 points in a loss. Akron's win was its first in the Big Ten since 1894 when the school, then called Buchtel College and coached by John Heisman, beat Ohio State.

    Elton Alexander and I talked about those games and what's in store for the Big Ten as the season moves on.

    And despite Ohio State's No. 4 ranking, the Buckeyes could be in jeopardy when it comes to how important competition is for the committee when deciding which teams participate in four team championship playoffs.

    How much weight will go into Ohio State's possible undefeated record with wins over teams in an inferior conference compared to a one loss team's victories against ranked opponents?

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    Jae'Lyn Withers is a 6-foot-9 senior who committed in early September to the University of Louisville. Watch video

    CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Israel, Paris and North Carolina.

    Jae'Lyn Withers is used to changing scenery with a basketball as his family's compass.

    What's one more stop at Cleveland Heights before college?

    That is where Withers and his father picked earlier this year when they discussed moving away from North Carolina. Jae'Lyn is a 6-foot-9 senior, who committed in early September to the University of Louisville. He could have stayed in the Charlotte area, where his father also grew up and played college basketball.

    They agreed a change was necessary.

    "There were a lot more resources that were accessible up here," Withers said Saturday during an open gym, a week he visited and committed to Louisville.

    Withers has a wiry, athletic frame and does not shy from his aspirations to play in the NBA. He trains at North Royalton-based MAQ is already acquainting himself with some of the area's top players. Withers is ranked among the nation's top 100 high school seniors by ESPN and He also averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per game last season while leading North Mecklenberg High School in suburban Charlotte to a 27-2 record.

    His father, Curtis Withers, played at UNC Charlotte before a professional career overseas.

    "He taught me the game," Jae'Lyn said. "He broke down the basketball business in a nutshell. He was always in my ear that if you're not working, someone else is and you can lose that spot."

    Dad's advice has Jae'Lyn stressing over his defense and physical maintenance. He plans to major in kinesiology, so it will serve him as an athlete and provide a fallback option after basketball.

    Withers picked Louisville over Texas A&M, Arizona and a slew of other schools. He will be the No. 2-ranked senior in Ohio, according to, behind SPIRE Institute transfer Rocket Watts.

    In moving to Cleveland Heights, Withers' situation is an anomaly among top college basketball recruits who change schools. Most pick basketball academies.

    Ohio State commit Alonzo Gaffney -- who was the state's top-ranked player in 2019 -- left this summer for Brewster Academy in New Hampshire after three years at Villa Angela-St. Joseph and Garfield Heights. Watts, who is now the state's top-rated player as a combo guard but from Detroit, selected SPIRE in Geneva. 

    Prep schools wanted Withers, too, his father said.

    However, Curtis Withers said he soured on the idea after Jae'Lyn's freshman and sophomore years.

    "I wanted to send him to my alma mater, but I didn't like the environment," said Curtis Withers, who was the 2001 Charlotte Observer Player of the Year for West Charlotte High School. "You want him to experience something better, but remember where he came from."

    That led the family to Cleveland and picking Cleveland Heights.

    "I'm a homebody," Jae'Lyn Withers said. "I didn't want to leave Charlotte. We ended up deciding probably a month after AAU ended. I guess I had to get used to living without all of my family members. That was probably the hardest thing, leaving my little brothers and sisters, my old high school team."

    His new high school team will lean on him heavily this winter.

    The Tigers are coming off a 16-9 season that ended with a Division I district semifinal loss to state finalist Solon. Cleveland Heights brings back no players who logged significant minutes.

    Even coach Michael Cruz is new, hired in June after a two-year stint at Massillon.

    "Anytime you can add a kid like Jae'Lyn Withers to your program, it's a pretty big deal," Cruz said. "He's so versatile. I believe he can play the one through five for us."

    Cruz sat with his coaches Saturday at the scorer's table inside Cleveland Heights' gym and watched a pick-up game between high school players and alumni who stopped by for a workout. No coaching instruction is permitted by the OHSAA until November, but Withers took new teammate Nigel Martin to a corner basket and worked on post moves.

    There is nothing to stop Withers from giving tips to Martin, a 6-5 senior forward who just received an offer from Tiffin.

    "He's a leader and he knows the game," Martin said. "He teaches it to everybody."

    Withers' instruction to Martin comes from his experiences with his father, a 6-8 forward during his playing days, and what he has picked up along the way.

    "He has a very high IQ," Cruz said, "and he's not afraid to know that he doesn't know everything. He wants to be coached. He wants to be pushed and take this as far as he can."

    Jae'Lyn Withers hopes that is the NBA.

    "I'm trying to be a one-, maybe two-year player," he said of his college aspirations.

    In the same breathe, Withers added he knows he is not close. As he worked out Saturday with Martin and ran the court in a pick-up game, members of Cleveland Heights' football team peeked through a window to catch a sight.

    In a few months, all of Northeast Ohio will get its first look.

    Contact sports reporter Matt Goul on Twitter (@mgoul) or email ( Or log in and leave a message below in the comments section.

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    Bosa is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery for a core muscle injury.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State football could be without junior defensive end Nick Bosa for four to six weeks following Bosa's surgery this week for what the school called a "core muscle injury."

    Urban Meyer earlier this week said Bosa's injury, suffered early in the third quarter last Saturday against TCU, was an abdominal/groin injury. OSU has already announced that Bosa will miss this week's game against Tulane, but did not specify a timetable for return beyond that.

    "Typically a recovery from that, you're looking at four to six weeks. It's actually a pretty quick recovery as far as surgical timelines go," Brian Schultz, a team physician for the Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Angels, and an orthopedic surgeon at the Kerlan-Jobe Institute told

    A four-to-six week time frame for return could have Bosa back with the Buckeyes in time for their Oct. 20 game at Purdue. Though Ohio State has a bye the following week, which would allow for one more week of recovery before the team enters its stretch run in November.

    A source close to Bosa would not disclose an expected timetable for return.

    Schultz said he sees injuries similar to Bosa's once or twice per year in his work with the Ducks.

    "It can range from a stretching to a complete tear to a part of the muscle," he said. "The collective core refers to the abdominal wall and the muscles in the back. But it's typically an injury anteriorly just above the pelvis, where the abdominal muscles are kind of all coming together into one piece of tissue.

    "Usually when someone has a sports hernia or core muscle surgery, it's a general surgeon that will take care of it. It's similar to a hernia repair for other parts of the body where they'll repair the muscle. Some surgeons will use a mesh to reinforce it, some surgeons don't use a mesh. That's kind of dealer's choice."

    Bosa currently leads Ohio State with 14 tackles, six tackles for loss and four sacks. The All-American is already in consideration for the No. 1 overall pick in next spring's NFL Draft.

    While Bosa would have a lot to consider regarding his NFL future in deciding when to return, sports hernias historically haven't had a significant impact on the performance of football players. A study conducted by the Orthopedic Journal of Sports Medicine in 2017 found a high return rate among NFL players who suffered similar injuries "without a significant difference in postoperative performance."

    The study also found that such injuries are becoming more common with better recognition and treatment.

    "The important thing is to try to figure out if any modifiable risk factors led to it," Schultz said. "We're finding out more and more that hip range of motion correlates to muscles injury in the abdomen. Muscle imbalances can create an environment where those muscles are being over-worked, but sometimes it's just over-use because these athletes push themselves so hard ... Normally what we've been seeing and with some of the research that's come out recently, it's actually lack of hip range of motion that puts you at more risk."

    Lack of hip mobility would not apply to Bosa.

    Yahoo Sports just last week detailed Bosa's intense stretching program, learned from his older brother Joey, that's meant to help with injury prevention and hip flexion. Part of what makes Nick Bosa such a high-level NFL prospect is the explosion he has in his lower body.

    The play on which Bosa was injured seemed like a normal play in which he slipped while trying to rush the quarterback.

    "Certainly if you get your body into certain positions that it's not supposed to be in, you may have to use those muscles in a way that they weren't designed, but I'm not aware of any correlation between hyper-mobility leading to that," Schultz said.

    So it could be a month, perhaps longer, before Ohio State gets its best pass rusher back. That's particularly of note with a game at Penn State next week.

    But it is possible for Bosa to return this season.

    "As far as I'm aware having a single episode doesn't make you at any more risk of it happening to you again," Schultz said. "If anything it probably, with some of the techniques if you have that mesh in there, it might even give you some protection against it ... Predictably people do well after surgery. They're actually more common than probably we thought before. He should do well if he had the injury, correct diagnosis and correct surgery."

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    Jason Kipnis' walk-off grand slam on Wednesday was his 1,000th career hit and echoed his first career knock more than seven years ago.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Jason Kipnis stood on the brink of 1,000 career hits as the Cleveland Indians headed into the bottom of the ninth inning Wednesday trailing the Chicago White Sox by a run.

    Kipnis was 0-for-2 with a walk, five spots away from batting and uncertain that he would even get an opportunity to hit. But as the inning wore on and his teammates set the stage, Kipnis envisioned a scenario very similar to the one surrounding his first big-league hit more than seven years ago.

    "I got closer and closer to the on-deck circle and home plate and the thought would keep creeping into my head," Kipnis said. "It actually gave me a little more confidence."

    Kipnis made his major-league debut July 22, 2011 against the White Sox, going hitless in two at-bats. His first hit came three days later in walk-off fashion against the Los Angeles Angels at Progressive Field. In that game, Kipnis drilled a 1-0 fastball from Angels reliever Hisanori Takahashi past a drawn-in infield with the bases loaded to score Carlos Santana for the game-winning run in a 3-2 Tribe victory.

    On Wednesday, Josh Donaldson reached on an infield hit that survived Chicago manager Rick Renteria's challenge, Yandy Diaz singled past shortstop Tim Anderson who was covering second on a steal attempt and Yan Gomes got drilled in the back to load the bases. Then, up stepped Kipnis.

    "Going into the ninth I thought, 'wouldn't this be a way to get the 1,000th,'" Kipnis said. "It's weird what belief can do in these situations. I was like, 'it's going to happen, I know it's going to happen.' And it played out that way."

    Kipnis blasted a 3-2 breaking ball from Chicago lefty Ian Hamilton 412 feet to right field for his second career walk-off home run, touching off a wild celebration at home plate for the AL Central Division Champions. It was Kipnis' fourth career walk-off plate appearance and the fifth for the Indians this season, giving the club a 4-1 victory.

    "Couldn't draw it up much better than that one," Kipnis said. "Felt good."

    Kipnis reached the 1,000-hit mark in his 991st game, all with the Indians. He collected home run No. 100 earlier this season in Kansas City when he raced around the bases for an inside-the-park version against the Royals.

    In eight seasons with the Tribe, Kipnis has a .263 career batting average with 227 doubles, 22 triples, 105 home runs and 461 RBI to go along with 128 steals. He is the 37th player in franchise history to collect 1,000 hits in an Indians uniform and the only such player with 1,000 hits, 100 homers and 100 steals.

    Though he has struggled most of the season at the plate, Kipnis is batting .317 in his last 19 outings with 12 runs, five doubles, six homers and 23 RBI and an OPS of 1.044. He said Wednesday's game was a metaphor for his own season, one where he looks for openings to contribute and stays ready at all times.

    "There's still going to be fun moments even in a year where I'm not hitting as high an average, but if you look at the other numbers, they're still pretty even across the board of what I'm usually doing," Kipnis said. "My head is still where it needs to be. I'm fine, I'm still feeling good, I'm still feeling confident."

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    Rookie Baker Mayfield should take over as starting quarterback for the rest of the season for the Cleveland Browns.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- For the Browns, there's no turning back.

    They have to begin to build for the present and the future with Baker Mayfield.

    That was the biggest message for the Browns game against the New York Jets Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium.

    Yes, even bigger than the 21-17 victory, the first for the Browns since December 24, 2016.

    It's far too early to know exactly how good Mayfield will be for the Browns...and for how long.

    But it's time to find out.

    The rookie quarterback entered his first regular season game late in the second quarter.

    Starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor had a miserable evening taking several bad shots and finally leaving the field with what later was diagnosed as a concussion.

    Mayfield hit 3-of-4 passes during his first regular season drive. He covered 47 yards and set up a field goal.

    At that point, most Browns fans knew -- it makes no sense wait any longer for Mayfield.


    He is not the usual rookie quarterback wearing an orange helmet.

    And this is not the usual Browns was a come-from-behind victory led by a rookie quarterback in his first game.

    Now that's something to talk about over the 10 days before the Browns play in Oakland.

    General Manager John Dorsey saw Mayfield play in person six times last season. By November, Dorsey was "90 percent sold" on Mayfield being the top quarterback in the draft.

    This was before Dorsey was hired by the Browns. He been fired by Kansas City and was scouting on his own -- preparing for his next job.

    Dorsey also was aware the Browns were interested in him -- and the top priority was finding a quarterback in the draft.

    This Thursday night victory was an early return for the new general manager with his most important decision with the Browns.


    Dorsey also wanted to take the careful, patient road. So he brought in Taylor to start while Mayfield could learn.

    But circumstances changed that plan.

    A Taylor concussion led to Mayfield on the field in a nationally televised game against the Jets.

    He was ready.

    Mayfield brought poise, confidence and fire into the game. He also has a strong, accurate arm.

    It's obvious the rookie from Oklahoma has been preparing for this moment. He was in command of the offense and had a good idea what he could do against the Jets.

    Mayfield is a rookie. He will make mistakes.

    He held on to the ball too long on one play. He was hit, fumbled...but Browns guard Joel Bitonio recovered the ball.

    He also nearly threw an interception in the end zone, the ball dropped by a Jets defender.

    But overall, it was an enticing debut.

    The contrast between Mayfield and Sam Darnold was revealing.

    Darnold was starting his third game with the Jets. Most draft experts believed he was the better choice for the Browns.

    Dorsey had a far higher grade on Mayfield than Darnold.

    The Gregg Williams defense made life rough for Darnold. But the USC rookie also seemed to bolt from the pocket very early.

    Darnold was 15-of-31 for 169 yards and two interceptions. He was sacked twice.


    Meanwhile, most of Mayfield's passes were decisive and on-target. He developed an immediate chemistry with Jarvis Landry, who also made some superb catches.

    If you're a Browns fan, the Mayfield-Landry combination will be so much fun to watch this season.

    Landry caught eight passes for 103 yards. He also threw a pass to Mayfield on a deceptive 2-point conversion.

    The Browns were behind, 14-0, when Mayfield entered the game...and at that point, the game began for the Browns.

    Mayfield stayed in the pocket. He seemed to know where his first, second and third options were when it came to throwing the ball.

    He has memorized the playbook like a veteran.

    By the time Carlos Hyde had scored on a 1-yard run to give the Browns a 21-17 lead with 2:04 left in the game, Mayfield had completed 17-of-23 passes for 201 yards...and no turnovers.  

    Hyde also thrived with Mayfield. The running back from Ohio State bulled his way to 98 yards on 23 carries.

    As the game ended, some Browns fans walked out of FirstEnergy Stadium chanting...BAKER MAYFIELD...BAKER MAYFIELD.

    It was a long, long time since a Browns quarterback had this type of a debut.

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    "Dilly Dilly! to the Cleveland fans," Mayfield said after the win. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - Baker Mayfield made his NFL debut Thursday night, and it was a memorable one as the rookie quarterback rallied the Browns to a 21-17 win over the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium.

    The win was the Browns' first since December of 2016. After the game, Mayfield answered questions from the media. Here is what he said, via a transcript provided by the Browns' media-relations department:

    On how it felt to bring joy to the fans:

    "Any win feels great. It is hard to do. Having success at this level is hard to do. The best part about it was that we were here at home. You guys could feel the energy of the crowd and how badly they wanted it, as well. We have to play for each other, but at the same time, this city deserves it. We have to have that mindset, going to get it no matter what is happening. So it felt great."

    On his mindset when entering the game:

    "Treat it like any other time. I have to go do my job. Don't overthink it. Live in the moment. It is that time. I have to command the offense. I have to command the team. I have to bring a spark and give us a chance to win. That is my job so that is what I was focused on."

    On if it felt like his 'coming out party,' given Head Coach Hue Jackson's reference to it:

    "For everybody else to see around here. I feel like people have been talking about it for a while. I have just been waiting for my moment. I have been patient. I have been in a good opportunity, put in a good situation with the guys around me - veteran QBs and great coaches that I can learn from. I was never whining or complaining about playing time. I just want the team to win, no matter what the cost is."

    On the sense of urgency entering the game trailing 14-0:

    "We had a whole half to play and some change in the second quarter. Just wanted to chip away. All points are good points at that point. You have to battle back and have to chip away at that point. There was a sense of urgency absolutely of Being the aggressive team and putting them on their heels. At the same time, we were not trying to push too hard."

    On his mindset after the successful 2-point conversion:

    "Anytime you can get the crowd to be a factor, kudos to the crowd. They played a factor late in the game. Anytime you can get them to be your 12th man. As cliche as that sounds, it is the truth. Whatever we have to do to fire them up to affect the other offense, it is great."

    On how this game ranks against his other big wins:

    "This one is definitely up there, being the first NFL game that I have played in. First regular season one that actually counts. It is definitely up there for me. I have had some great memories, but I am just getting started."

    On the key to the spark he helped provide:

    "Just being ready to go. I think being decisive on where I wanted to put the ball, just attacking. Like I said, you want to put them on your heels. When you do that, the offense builds confidence. The defense will see that. They start to build that, as well. The crowd gets into it when you get all three phases like that, it is pretty tough to stop."

    On keys to his quick release:

    "Seeing things, [releasing] quickly and just trusting your guys to be in the spots that they are supposed to be in."

    On the lack of energy in the first half:

    "Anytime you are not having success, there is no reason to celebrate a bad play or when you are not having success. You want to have success. We talked about it. Football is hard to have success. It is tough to do your job."

    On if felt he had to provide a spark due to the lack energy:

    "No, not right off the bat. I was never trying to put too much on my shoulders. Just trying to do my job and get the ball out in their hands. When you can do that, they are going to make plays for you. These guys are the best in the world at what they do. That was my mindset. That is where I was at. At the same time before I was even in, my job was to be there for the team and helping anyway I can to win. Just coaching the guys on different looks and being the extra guy when the coaches aren't there or (QB Tyrod Taylor) Ty's watching tape or looking at different defensive fronts or coverages. We all have a job here. Tonight, we did a good job and pulled out a win."

    On the Bud Light coolers opening and snapping a 19-game losing streak:

    "Dilly Dilly! to the Cleveland fans (laughter). It comes with it. It is not the only win that we are going to celebrate. It is a building block for us. We did some good things, but there is still a lot that we can work on. That is the great part about it. We are nowhere near where we want to be, but we are in a good spot to build a foundation and keep going."

    On if he spoke to NY Jets QB Sam Darnold after the game:

    "A little bit. It is pretty hectic right there after the game. I told him, 'Good game. Keep playing well. Keep pushing.' We are in the same spot - rookies playing in our first NFL games. He is playing well. He is leading his team. I am proud of him."

    On if there was additional satisfaction out-dueling Darnold:

    "No, it is never about playing one person. It is about getting a team win."

    On if he expects to be the starting QB and his reaction if he goes back to backup QB:

    "Not focused on that. Singular focus. Going to enjoy this one. (Offensive coordinator) Coach (Todd) Haley said, 'It is like winning twice. You win on Thursday, and then you get to watch everybody lose on Sunday.' (laughter). I am going to enjoy it right now and then we will see how it goes next week. That is the mindset that you have to have. You have to hit the reset button when the weekend is over and we are back to work. That is all that matters."

    On if he told WR Jarvis Landry to throw him the ball on the 2-point conversion:

    "I think that is how the play was drawn up."

    On Landry saying that he told him on the sidelines:

    "We knew we were going to call it. I was the first read so I was hoping he was going to throw it to me."

    On why it was not called on the first 2-point conversion attempt:

    "Not in the right spot." 

    On OL Joel Bitonio saying that the play was made toward the end of training camp but Taylor always ran the play and his confidence in the play given his lack of practice with it:

    "Never taken a rep of it, but watching Ty do it all through practice, it is not too hard to walk up to the line and call a cadence and kind of  just stand there.'

    On ever envisioning his first NFL game to go this way:

    "The result - a win, yes. That is how I have always wanted it, but the circumstances of what I was going in with, you never want to go in after one of your captains gets hurt. You never want that but the result is what we wanted. We will watch the tape. The thing about it is, you are never as good as how it feels after the game and it is never as bad. I will be excited to get to the tape and see what we can build on."

    On receiving a game ball and sensing how much this means to the team:

    "For starters, the first game ball he gave was to the Haslam family. The thing was he talked about was they stuck with them through thick and thin. It's been tough for him so it meant a lot. There is a lot of pressure on him, and he's put a lot of it on his shoulders. What we need to realize as a franchise now is that everybody has their job. It's not all on one person. It's not all on me right now. It's everybody. You have your 1/11th on offense, and you have special teams and defense as well. We have to work each day to have success and that's just the way it goes."

    On if he has talked to QB Tyrod Taylor yet:

    "No, I have not."

    On his message to the guys in the first huddle:

    "Just do your job. I'm not going to try and overdo it. I'm going to be myself and lead with a fire and passion."

    On trying to get Browns players fired up before entering the game and how that translated on the field:

    "I have always been like that. I have always been a guy to keep positive energy on the sideline. The most important play is the next one no matter what happens. Before the game, getting guys in the right mindset and confident, you play well when you're confident. People can say cockiness or whatever, but there are results when you play with a confidence and you believe in yourself. That is what I always try to do with my guys and it's what I've always done. I just tried to carry that over when I was in."

    On his statements at the NFL combine about being the one who can turn the Browns around:

    "It might have been it (laughter)."

    On his message to people listening to the press conference on the radio:

    "Cleveland deserves a win, but we are not done yet. Don't break the Dilly Dilly coolers too hard (laughter). Just enjoy it. We deserve it, but at the same time we're just getting started."

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    In this edition of the Orange and Brown Podcast. sponsored by Sibling Revelry Brewing, Dan Labbe joins Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot and columnist Doug Lesmerises to discuss a memorable night on the lakefront.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Baker Mayfield Era began Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium as the Browns came from behind and won an NFL game for the first time since December of 2016, knocking off the New York Jets 21-17.


    Mayfield came on in relief after Tyrod Taylor went down with a concussion in the first half. The rookie electrified the crowd and the national TV audience by completing 17 of 23 passes for 201 yards, for a 100.1 QB rating.

    In this edition of the Orange and Brown Podcast. sponsored by Sibling Revelry Brewing, I join Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot and columnist Doug Lesmerises to discuss:

    • Mayfield's debut and what it means for the franchise.
    • What this win will do for Hue Jackson.
    • And what to look for as the Browns move ahead to a game at Oakland on Sunday, Sept. 30.

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