1. Baker Mayfield
One of the more popular narratives entering Week 1 was that the matchup between the Browns and Carolina Panthers would be the Baker Mayfield revenge game. Mayfield, the former No. 1 overall pick, was unceremoniously dumped to the Panthers in a trade after Cleveland opted to replace him with Deshaun Watson and was now slated to face his former teammates in Week 1.
Unlike last season’s Sam Darnold revenge win over the Jets, the Mayfield revenge tour went off with a whimper. Mayfield resembled the quarterback that the Browns were eager to move away from last season, doing little offensively to inspire faith that he could be the answer for Carolina outside of one long touchdown to Robbie Anderson.
This was a disappointing performance for Mayfield, who beat out Darnold for the job as Matt Rhule is fighting to keep his own gig beyond this season. This underwhelming effort from Mayfield could lead Rhule to have an itchy trigger finger, especially when this game was considered winnable with the Browns being forced to start Jacoby Brissett with Watson suspended.
Brissett ended up outplaying Mayfield on the day, which is not a great sign for Mayfield’s long-term job prospects. Mayfield may end up surviving Week 1 to get another shot at starting next week but he certainly played like a guy who deserved some pine time.