After going 1-31 over 2016-17 (0-16 in 2017), the Cleveland Browns actually entered Thursday night’s game against the New York Jets as three-point favorites.

But in the first half, they looked like the same old Browns. The Jets jumped out to a 14-0 lead behind two Isaiah Crowell touchdowns, and the Cleveland offense looked absolutely terrible with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. Taylor completed just 4-of-14 passes for 19 yards, and had a couple brutal throws on potential big plays.

In the final three minutes of the first half, Taylor was sacked and suffered a concussion. The Browns were likely considering going to rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield soon regardless, but the Taylor concussion forced the move to happen.

And with Mayfield, the Browns looked like a completely different offense.

The top overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft completed 17-of-23 passes for 201 yards and fired darts all over the field in his NFL debut.

The Oklahoma product even caught a two-point conversion pass from Jarvis Landry on this “Cleveland Special”:

And a few of Mayfield’s incompletions looked good.

In the fourth quarter, Mayfield led the Browns on a terrific 15-play drive that took nearly seven minutes off the clock. The drive was capped off by a one-yard touchdown run from Carlos Hyde (who had a busy day), which gave the Browns a 21-17 lead (after the extra point), and that would be the final score.

So the Cleveland Browns have won their first game since Christmas Eve of 2016. That’s certainly a big deal, and a fantastic, long overdue moment for the Browns’ fans.

But the bigger thing from the night- the Browns appear to have their quarterback, both for now and the long term. Mayfield offers hope for a franchise and fan base that have had so very little in their history.

This is a much better roster than the pathetic Browns teams in recent history; it was a matter of the quarterback position. With solid or better quarterback play, this can already be a decent football team. That was so, so clear with the difference in how the team looked with Taylor at quarterback compared to Mayfield at quarterback on Thursday night.

And it also makes you wonder how Hue Jackson and company couldn’t already tell in practice that Mayfield was the guy for the job.

About Matt Clapp

Matt is an editor at The Comeback. He attended Colorado State University, wishes he was Saved by the Bell's Zack Morris, and idolizes Larry David. And loves pizza and dogs because obviously.

He can be followed on Twitter at @Matt2Clapp (also @TheBlogfines for Cubs/MLB tweets and @DaBearNecess for Bears/NFL tweets), and can be reached by email at mclapp@thecomeback.com.