Week 11: Boo! Bad! Unsatisfying!
Browns 13, Detroit 10
Summary: Remember that Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video? At least we’re not Detroit.
The key moment: I can only imagine this happened late in the fourth quarter when someone handed head coach Kevin Stefanski a note that said, simply, “Fun fact: We have Nick Chubb on this team.” Stefanski nodded, and he shouted out to his players, “Is there a Nick Chubb here?” Chubb stepped forward, and entered the game, and ran for 33 yards on four plays, and then Stefanski’s “Memento” memory went dark again, and he took Chubb out, but on third and three, someone handed him the note again, and he said, “Is there a Rick Chubb here?” and someone said, “No, it’s Nick,” and Stefanski smiled knowingly.
Happiness level (scale of 1-to-10): 6, which is the lowest possible score after a victory because, hey, this was a real stinker on so many levels, plus now there might be some Baker Mayfield drama to deal with.
So, I guess Baker Mayfield is mad. He stormed off the field after the Browns’ victory over Detroit without shaking anybody’s hand, and then he refused to talk with the media afterward, and I guess a little later on his wife Emily shared a fan’s post on Instagram that read: “Nobody better say anything bad about Baker Mayfield after this game. I don’t think I have seen toughness like this in a while. Maybe the rest of our team should take the hint and get tougher.”
She has since deleted the post — and it looks like the fan who wrote the line deleted his entire account.
So that went well.
Of course, too much was made of any of this. Emily Mayfield, best I can tell, reposts EVERY good Instagram post that supports the Browns players, like hundreds every week, and when she realized how people were taking this particular one, she immediately deleted it.
Social media, as my friend Ken Burns says, is anything but social.
The best guess about all this is that Mayfield is hurt and outraged that the fans booed him mercilessly on Sunday even though he was playing with about 734 separate injuries. At this point, Mayfield is basically Monty Python’s Black Knight. He tears his labrum, and tis but a scratch. He twists and injures both knees, tis a flesh wound. He badly bruises his foot, and he starts hopping and trying to head-butt his opponent.
And it’s true you cannot help but admire his toughness and refusal to come out of the game.
But it’s also true that he was lousy on Sunday, he missed pass after pass, he threw two really bad interceptions, and in general we NFL fans are not exactly known for being measured and deliberate in our judgments. Most of us have two fan settings, the first being “YAY! GOOD! HAPPY!” and the second being “BOO! BAD! UNSATISFYING!” Mayfield in his Browns career has done a remarkable job of tripping both of those settings to the maximum levels; that’s just the kind of player he is. On Sunday (and the previous Sunday) he was dreadful, and with that comes massive boos even during a win.
Is that fair for a player basically being held together by duct tape and twine? No, probably not. But maybe when you’re that hurt you should sit out the game and trust your backup. Anyway, we know how this goes: If Mayfield can play on Sunday against the Ravens — and I suspect he will try to play even if he gets decapitated during practice — and he throws three touchdown passes, he will be a hero once again.
Human nature is human nature is human nature.