Baker Mayfield needed all the help he could get coming into Sunday as the Cleveland Browns faced the AFC North champions the Pittsburgh Steelers. All of the Browns ended up answering the call as everyone, including a “guy named Blake” stepped up to book their trip to the NFL Divisional Round Playoffs for the first time since 1994.
Mayfield, who led the Browns with three passing touchdowns, zero interceptions, and 263 yards, took time to appreciate his team’s effort en route to the huge W.
“We had Michael Dunn stepped in at left guard for Joel Bitonio and then Michael got hurt and a guy named Blake who I introduced myself to literally in the locker room before the game, stepped up in the fourth quarter,” Mayfield said post-game (via Jason Hartelius).
All-time GREAT postgame sound bite. Instant classic. pic.twitter.com/ODT81CuPyE
— Jason Hartelius (@jasonhartelius) January 11, 2021
That guy Mayfield was referring to is 25-year old Blake Hance, who made his Cleveland debut on Sunday. Hance, who signed with ther Browns just last week, filled in for Cleveland who were without a few of their usual defensive members due to COVID-19.
Even head coach Kevin Stefanski had to sit this one out after testing the virus which made the Browns’ short-handed win even more impressive. Hance ended up playing left guard for the Browns in the final quarter.
The next-man-up mentality is something that the Browns have clung on to all-season long. This proved to be an effective rallying cry for Cleveland, who ended the regular season winning six of their last eight contests. Good news is, a few members of the Browns who missed Sunday’s game are poised to make a return ahead of their big Divisional Round game against the Kansas City Chiefs.