He may only technically have a 6-6 record as a starting quarterback, but I really don’t think there should be any debate that Baker Mayfield has been head and shoulders above the rest of the rookie quarterback draft class this year. That doesn’t mean he’ll go on to have the best career, but with respect to his individual performance, none have been as good. Not even Lamar Jackson, despite the Baltimore Ravens’ record of 5-1 in his six starts.
With one game remaining in his rookie season, Mayfield will make his 13th and final start against the Ravens on Sunday. When he does, he will have the opportunity to accomplish a couple of things. For one thing, a win would give him a winning record as a starter, and give the Browns their first winning season since 2007.
More individually, he has the opportunity to break the all-time rookie quarterback record for the most touchdown passes in a season. The record is shared by Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson, both of whom threw 26 touchdowns in their rookie years.
Both of them, by the way, started all 16 games. Mayfield will have only played in 14 games, starting 13. Following a three-touchdown showing against the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday, however, he has 24 touchdowns on the season.
If he can throw two touchdown passes against the Ravens’ defense, he will tie the record, and three will break it. He has thrown at least one touchdown in every start, and he is one of only three quarterbacks to throw a touchdown in at least their first 10 starts in NFL history.
The thing is, only five quarterbacks this season have even thrown more than one touchdown pass against the Ravens this year, and the only two that have thrown more than one were the two that they have played twice: Ben Roethlisberger (with three in total) and Andy Dalton.
Roethlisberger had one touchdown in the first game and two in the second. As for Dalton, he threw for six touchdowns against the Ravens this year in his two games. That included a season-high four in a 34-23 victory over them back in Week Two.
So the Ravens have only allowed one quarterback all season to throw more than two touchdown passes in a game. And that happened 14 games ago. Patrick Mahomes didn’t do it. Drew Brees didn’t do it. Matt Ryan didn’t do it. Not even the great Nathan Peterman managed the feat (though he did have two interceptions).
In his game against the Ravens earlier this season—an overtime victory—Mayfield completed 25 of 43 passes for 342 yards with one touchdown and one interception. That was the second-highest yardage total of his season, one of two 300-yard games. He has only thrown more than two touchdowns in a game three times now, including yesterday.