The View Beyond Pluto: Why Baker Mayfield’s First ‘Rookie Game’ Was Actually One of His Best

Dec 5, 2018

Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield had his first bad game as a rookie last weekend. Cleveland lost to the Houston Texans, 29-13. 

Mayfield threw three interceptions in the first half and completed just five passes for 46 yards. "He's just running around and firing it into the end zone and praying. And there's a Browns guy surrounded by what seemed like 47 defenders," WKSU sports commentator Terry Pluto said. 

'This game in many ways was a really good sign for the growth of a rookie quarterback'

Making adjustments
Pluto said it's how Mayfield adjusted in the second half that sets him apart. 

"He threw for 350 yards and no interceptions. What that means is that he went and looked at some tape and made some adjustments and pulled himself out of the mental rut he was in and played pretty well. This game in many ways was a really good sign for the growth of a rookie quarterback."

The big picture
Pluto encourages fans to look at the big picture. Last season, Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer threw 22 interceptions and lost six fumbles. And Pluto says of all the rookie quarterbacks currently starting in the NFL, Mayfield has more touchdowns than interceptions, and he's the only rookie quarterback completing more than 60 percent of his passes.

"Right now when you look at a guy with 18 touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 63 percent completions and two lost fumbles, that's like a top 10 or 12 quarterback in the NFL, period."

"He's old-school. He's willing to learn and adapt. And he's good enough to do it'

Carson Wentz comparisons
And Pluto says comparisons to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz are unfair. Wentz set an all-time rookie record in 2016 with 379 completed passes.  

"Wentz went to a team that the previous three years were 24-24, a middle-of-the-road team. The Browns, meanwhile, were 1-32-1 when [Mayfield] came in to rescue and win that Jets game in September."

And, Pluto says Mayfield lacks stellar wide receivers. His running back is fellow rookie Nick Chubb. 

"At the baseline, the Browns have a pretty good quarterback right now with a chance for him to get appreciably better. He's got all the swagger but when it comes studying the game, he's old-school. He's willing to learn and adapt. And he's good enough to do it."