One of the biggest stories of the 2020 season was the transformation by quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The third-year quarterback is looking like the Cleveland Browns franchise QB under new head coach Kevin Stefanski.
He put together borderline Pro Bowl numbers doing his fantastic 2020 campaign.
The 25-year-old quarterback helped lead the Browns to an 11-5 season and a playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
One reason the Browns were this successful last season was the elite numbers by Mayfield in the red zone.
Mayfield Making It Count
At this point, everyone should be aware of Mayfield’s rollercoaster first three seasons in the NFL.
He had a record-setting rookie campaign that was followed up by a 21-interception season in 2019.
Then-coach Freddie Kitchens was fired after 2019 and Stefanski worked his magic on Mayfield.
Last season, Mayfield finished with 3,563 yards, 26 touchdowns, and eight interceptions in 16 games.
He looked much more comfortable in the pocket and was making better decisions with the football.
One of the biggest reasons why Mayfield has been more successful is his big-play ability in the red zone.
Since 2019, Mayfield has 35 touchdowns with three interceptions while targeting the end zone.
Baker Mayfield targeting the end zone since 2019
🎯 35 TDs
🎯 3 INTs pic.twitter.com/Jwq63CVKHf
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) April 9, 2021
Many of those scores came last season under a new and improved system.
It certainly seems that Mayfield has greatly benefited from the coaching change to Stefanski.
He is making smarter decisions as a quarterback and getting the job done in the red zone.
It’s tough not to succeed when you’re throwing over 30 touchdowns in the red zone over the last season or so.
Mayfield continues finding success when it matters most and it showed last season.
The hope is that this wasn’t a fluke season and Mayfield will continue to grow and improve as a quarterback.
Mayfield has certainly silenced many of the critics after his incredible 2020 campaign.
Although, Mayfield will now be expected to continue playing at a borderline Pro Bowl level going forward.
Mayfield being the franchise quarterback was always the hope since the organization did draft him No. 1 overall in 2018.
He has made huge strides in his game since he joined the league a few years ago.
His quickness, decision-making, and overall knowledge on the field has improved over the last few seasons.
Here's every passing touchdown by Baker Mayfield from the 2018 season so far. pic.twitter.com/gQMnaSUoPN
— James Simpson (@JS_Football) December 19, 2018
It’s tough for Mayfield not to succeed when he’s surrounded by this much talent.
He had arguably the best offensive line in the NFL during the 2020 season.
The Cleveland Browns have put together a superstar offense around Mayfield.
He is certainly taking advantage of it has seen by his elite numbers while targeting the end zone.
The problem has not been the lack of scoring, but instead it has been the inability to stop opponents by the defense.
Most notably, the pass defense has been horrendous, but the front office has been attempting to fix that problem over the offseason.
It appears the sky is the limit for Mayfield in 2021 and anything other than a conference championship game feels like a bust for this team.