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Kevin Stefanski gives reason to believe in 3-1 start

For four quarters, this was the eye-popping Odell Beckham Jr. the Browns thought they traded for in March 2019.

For three quarters, this was the on-target throwing Baker Mayfield the Browns had been waiting to see since the second half of his rookie season.

For most of the day, this was the perfect marriage of a creative ball-control offense and an opportunistic defense that for decades seemed like a pipe dream in Cleveland.

There was no better time for the Browns to find themselves than Sunday in a 49-38 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in AT&T Stadium.

It would have been more of a statement if the Browns hadn’t allowed the Cowboys to cut into their 41-14 fourth-quarter lead. The Browns were in control for all but an alarming 8:45 in the final quarter when the Cowboys scored 24 points. The Browns needed a 50-yard touchdown run by Beckham and a Denzel Ward interception with 1:36 remaining to hang on.

But coming in over .500 for the first time since Week 14 of the 2014 season, the Browns were playing for respect, for legitimacy, for the share of the spotlight they believe they deserve. They left 3-1, a start not seen since 2001.

Baker Mayfield #6 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium on October 04, 2020 in Arlington, Texas.

And after years of searching for their quarterback of the future, the Browns front office may have learned what was just as important — finding their coach of the future.

FOX Sports play-by-play man Kevin Burkhardt and analyst Daryl Johnston obviously weren’t that familiar with the Browns, with two references to “Kevin Stefanik” in the first half. (There was also one “Joel Bitoni” mention and a couple of Cowboys receiver “Amari Coomer.”)

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