As expected, the Cleveland Browns are off to a good 3-1 start in 2021.
So why are fans worried?
The Browns have a long history of never making it easy, and that continued into Week 4 with an ugly, close 14-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Baker Mayfield looked horrible and nothing was flowing in the passing game.
But the fact that the team still won says a lot about why they remain Super Bowl contenders.
Here are three positives to the ugly win for fans to remember.
#Brown Baker Mayfield: “That lousy performance on my part is not going to be enough. I have to be better. It’s that easy “
– Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) October 3, 2021
3. The defense was elite
The Vikings are not a horrible team with a rookie quarterback.
Kirk Cousins’ unit scored 30 points against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 3.
And then the Browns kept them on a touchdown that came on the game’s first drive.
The Vikings were successful, the Browns adapted, and that was the game.
20 points allowed in the last 10 quarters for the Browns defense.
– Andrew Gribble (@Andrew_Gribble) October 3, 2021
Cousins finished 20/38 for just 203 yards and Dalvin Cook was ineffective all day.
The Vikings quarterback only took two sacks as well, showing just how well the defense played across the field.
Keeping any NFL team in single-digit points is impressive.
The Browns have now done it in consecutive weeks.
2. The duo Running Back led the way
Mayfield couldn’t complete a pass, so Kevin Stefanski let Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt take over.
The first finished with 100 yards and the second added 69 more and a touchdown.
This is the formula that fans have been asking to see and Stefanski finally let it happen.
The offensive line is elite and so are the two running backs.
Even if Mayfield is playing very well, Chubb and Hunt need to get their touches to wear down opposing defenses.
Each of them is unstoppable on its own.
Together, they are easily the best running back duo in the NFL.
1. The team has 3-1
Browns fans have gone 0-16 to the Super Bowl or gone broke in no time.
A 3-1 record is great, no matter what wins look like on the field.
They are competing in the AFC North division and are just a few errors away from being 4-0.
Week 5 provides a great test for this team.
They head to the road to take on a Los Angeles Chargers team that looks like a true AFC contender with Justin Herbert at the helm.
If the defense can limit it like they did with Cousins, then it would be clear that the Browns don’t even need to score much to win.
However, let’s say you have a normal day and the team needs 24 points or more to take home the win.
All eyes will be on Mayfield as he seeks to recover.
However, even if they lose, a 3-2 record is not cause for panic.
Real panic should only appear if Mayfield continues to backtrack week after week.
So there is a real problem to discuss not only in 2021, but also beyond.