Things are looking up for the Northeast Ohio sports scene, not only when it comes to the Cleveland Browns but also the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Browns improved to 2-1 on Thursday by defeating their old AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers, and a pathway to playoff contention appears to be taking shape for them.
Meanwhile, the Cavs, whose outlook was already somewhat rosy, traded for NBA All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell recently, and as a result, they’re looking like possible title contenders this coming season.
Mitchell ingratiated himself to the Cleveland area by, along with fellow starting guard Darius Garland, being appointed captains for the Dawg Pound for Thursday’s contest at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Donovan Mitchell & Darius Garland in the building for Steelers-Browns 🐶
— Overtime (@overtime) September 22, 2022
Mitchell, wearing a Browns jersey with his No. 45 on it, proceeded to smash a guitar that had the Steelers logo on it, which has become a new routine at Browns games.
Donovan Mitchell is quickly becoming a fan favorite in Cleveland! 🏈🏀🎸 pic.twitter.com/nBIluy9C68
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) September 23, 2022
Legendary Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas started the tradition last week when they lost to the New York Jets at home.
After a slow start, quarterback Jacoby Brissett started to get into a rhythm, and he threw for 220 yards and two touchdowns while completing 21 of 31 passes to give the Browns a 29-17 victory.
Cleveland Is Starting To Rock With Optimism
With a 2-1 record, the Browns, believe or not, are in first place in the AFC North, at least for now.
Brissett has put up two solid outings in a row, and while no one will ever accuse him of being a legitimate starting QB, let alone a Pro Bowl-caliber one, it is starting to look like he can keep the seat warm for the suspended Deshaun Watson.
Watson is serving an 11-game suspension, and with the Atlanta Falcons up ahead in Week 4, the Browns have a good chance of holding a 3-1 record going into the first full week of October.
They will need that type of cushion, as they will run into a tough stretch that starts in Week 5 against the revamped Los Angeles Chargers.
That stretch will last until Week 13, which is when Watson will be eligible to return against – of all teams – the Houston Texans, his old employer, on the road no less.
But even if the Browns start to falter in November, the Cavs could very well take the city by storm.
Mitchell Should Supercharge The Cavs
Last season, the Cavs made the NBA’s play-in tournament and had it not been for a blown lead versus the Atlanta Hawks, they would’ve made the postseason for the first time since LeBron James left town.
Their new backcourt of Mitchell and Garland will be one of the best in pro basketball, not to mention one of the game’s most exciting backcourts.
In the frontcourt, Evan Mobley is thought to have superstar potential written all over him.
Once Watson returns to the Browns, they could give The Land a preview of what is to come on the gridiron not too long from now, as they have built a talented team on both sides of the football that is also fairly young.
With baseball’s Cleveland Guardians in first place in the American League Central as well, there are plenty of reasons for perpetually gloomy Cleveland sports fans to be optimistic these days.