BEREA Ohio (AP) — Back when their chances of playing quarterback in the NFL were still in the dream stages, Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield sat in an apartment near Texas Tech’s campus and played video games.
It was 2013.Three years later, they appeared to do the same thing on the field.“It was a basketball score,” Mayfield recalled.“That https://www.brownsfanshop.com/Bernie-Kosar-Jersey , game was crazy,” Mahomes said, remembering the October night in 2016 when he and Mayfield re-wrote the NCAA record book.The quarterbacks and friends will renew their old rivalry — and perhaps embark on a new one as pros — Sunday when Mahomes leads Kansas City and the Chiefs‘ high-flying, high-octane offense, into Cleveland to play Mayfield and the Browns, who are again in disarray following the firings this week of coach Hue Jackson and coordinator Todd Haley.The previous time they met between the hash marks, Mahomes and Mayfield put on a stunning statistical show unlike anything college football had seen before.They combined for 12 touchdown passes, 1,279 yards passing and broke the total yardage mark with 1,708 yards — 854 for each school.Looking back, Mayfield, who threw seven TD passes to Mahomes’ five and led the Sooners to a 66-59 win, still can’t fathom what happened.“That was my ‘Welcome back to Lubbock’ moment,” said Mayfield, who began his college career as a walk-on at Texas Tech before transferring.“Weird things happen in Lubbock, Texas, on Saturday nights. It is pretty funny, Oklahoma goes back to Lubbock this weekend and then I am playing Pat on Sunday.”Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who has replaced Jackson as Cleveland’s interim coach, shook his head in disbelief when given details of the Mahomes-Mayfield shootout.“Oh, my gosh,” he said. “Setting defenses back a thousand years.”No one — not even the quarterbacks themselves — could have envisioned their first meeting five years ago when Mayfield hosted Mahomes on his recruiting trip to Texas Tech would blossom into a friendship and maybe the NFL’s next great QB duel.Mayfield was aware of Mahomes’ background and talent — son of a major league baseball player, bazooka-like arm — but then got to know him personally during that weekend visit. What Mayfield quickly learned was that, like him, Mahomes is a natural leader.“Patrick has always been an easygoing guy,” Mayfield said. “That is why those teammates he has always had play for him so hard. He gets their respect not just based on talent — that’s easy to respect — but based on who he is as a person. He just has that presence about him that you want to be around. You gravitate towards that so it is fun to see him grow.”And my, has Mahomes grown.The 22-year-old leads the league with 26 TD passes and 2,526 yards. He threw six TD passes in Week 2 against Pittsburgh, and Mahomes has made as many jaw-dropping, highlight-reel worthy plays this season as many QBs have in a career.Mahomes’ arm strength has drawn rave reviews. Ask any coach Chris Hubbard Color Rush Jersey , player, scout or reporter who has seen him play about him, and there’s usually a tale about one of his throws.Mayfield said he’s “absolutely” jealous of Mahomes’ rocket right arm.“There was a play in that college game, he was rolling to his left, flicked it and it went about 65 in the air for a touchdown back of the end zone,” Mayfield said, remembering the OU-Texas Tech classic in ’16. “He does stuff that you can’t even think of even being possible.”Mayfield was surprised Mahomes wasn’t taken in 2017 with the No. 1 pick, which ended up being Browns defensive end Myles Garrett.“Talent-wise, I thought he should have been. I love Myles but,” Mayfield said with a smile.“Coming from the Texas Tech system, there are always your skeptics about people doubting the fact that all he did was sit back there and throw the ball. He threw it 88 times in our game, but when it comes down to it, throwing the ball is throwing the ball, and he is really good at it.”So is Mayfield.While Mahomes only started one game as a rookie last season, Mayfield was thrust into the lineup in Week 3 when Tyrod Taylor was hurt.Mayfield doesn’t have nearly the same supporting cast as Mahomes, but he’s put up respectable numbers and feels he’s learning with every snap.“His talent is through the roof,” Mahomes said of Mayfield. “He is going to keep getting better every single week. He has already had a lot of success. The sky is the limit for him.”On Sunday, they’ll go at it again — pass for pass, play for play — in what appears to be a mismatch with the Chiefs rolling and the Browns reeling.But beyond the score, the NFL could get its first glimpse at a budding QB rivalry. It’s not Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning, but that one started somewhere too.“I would absolutely not say that it going to be Brady-Manning right now, but it is humbling to be in that conversation,” Mayfield said.“If he keeps playing that way, there is no reason why it would not be on his side of things. Now, I just have to pick up my side and play better.” BEREA, Ohio (AP) — As Baker Mayfield threw long passes to his wide receivers and short ones to backs before Sunday’s game against Carolina, Browns interim coach Gregg Williams knew his rookie quarterback was going to have a good game.It wasn’t any sight.It was a sound.“You can hear the ball come out of the quarterback’s hand with a ‘ssssssst’ and you can hear how tight the ball was coming out of his hand,” Williams said. “It was bringing a smile to my face when I saw him warm up and really the entire game he was zipping it.”Mayfield zipped it all day long, completing a 66-yard pass on Cleveland’s first play and whipping several passes into tight coverage during a 26-20 win that gave the Browns their fifth win and kept their faint playoff hopes flickering.Mayfield’s arm strength isn’t usually the first thing mentioned when discussing the No. 1 overall pick’s top attributes. More often his accuracy, leadership and, of course, abundant confidence are brought up first. But Mayfield, whose “I woke up feeling dangerous” has become a catch phrase around Cleveland https://www.brownsfanshop.com/Seth-Devalve-Jersey , has shown he can rear back and fire the ball with any quarterback.After the Browns fell behind the Panthers 7-0, Mayfield quickly stripped Carolina of momentum by stepping up and throwing a laser down the field — the ball traveled more than 60 yards — to receiver Breshad Perriman, who hauled in the deep pass to set up Cleveland’s first TD.The play exemplified Mayfield’s confidence, and the trust he has built with Cleveland’s coaching staff.“That was a rocket and that was a long throw, and it is a long throw on the money,” Williams said. “In practices, we have seen longer throws and we have seen even more accurate throws that other people have not seen yet.”Mayfield showed off his arm — and accuracy — a little later with a 51-yard TD toss to receiver Jarvis Landry, who appeared to be well-covered on the play. Mayfield, though, squeezed his throw between two defenders, showing both fearlessness and faith.“It was where it needed to be,” Landry said. “The guy’s back was turned. The corner that was coming from the outside was trying to squeeze it, and the ball literally went between both of them. It was a hell of a throw.”Mayfield is bringing the heat.The Browns (5-7-1) have won three of four going into this week’s game in Denver, and in those victories, he has completed 79 percent of his passes (54 of 68) for 712 yards with eight TDs and no interceptions. Mayfield has also shown remarkable resiliency by shaking off a three-pick performance in the first half at Houston to pass for 351 yards in the second half while standing in the face of the Texans‘ tenacious pass rush led by J.J. Watt.Williams has been cautious to heap too much praise on the 23-year-old, but lately he has gone out of his way to compliment his young QB.Following Wednesday’s practice, Williams said Mayfield’s arm was “off the charts” in terms of its liveliness.“He had a live day on Sunday, but (snaps fingers) came back today and it looked like it was even more live today,” Williams said. “The first thing I thought was ‘young’.”But beyond Mayfield’s youth and the life in his high-velocity arm, Williams sees something special.“The good quarterbacks, some of the times when some of us may judge a throw that, ‘Wow, that was not a very good throw.’ Why? Because it was on his back shoulder?” Williams said.“It was on his back shoulder because that is the way that the guy throws the player open. Drew Brees and some of those guys — Joe Montana, Warren Moon, Peyton Manning — and all of the guys that I have been with or gone against — will throw the guy open.“He is doing that. That is a natural thing. That is not something that can be overly taught at this level. If we have to spend a lot of time trying to teach that at this level, he probably will never ever get it.”NOTES: While the Browns remain a long shot to make the playoffs, S Damarious Randall believes they belong in the postseason. “We feel like we’re a playoff team,” Randall said. “We feel like we deserve one of them six spots. We know we dug ourselves in a hole, and we know that we need some help. It starts with us winning out. If we win out, they just better not let us in the playoffs.” … Rookie S Denzel Ward remains in concussion protocol. He missed Sunday’s game.
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