The Cleveland Browns heard what Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said before their playoff matchup and they, well, took it personally, as the many memes on the internet have pointed out.
Smith-Schuster’s statement became a rallying cry for the Browns and their fans leading up to the game.
“I think they’re still the same Browns teams I play every year,” Smith-Schuster said this week. “I think they’re nameless gray faces. They have a couple good players on their team, but at the end of the day, I don’t know. The Browns is the Browns.”
These Browns were very much not like the Browns of past, winning their first playoff game since 1995. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has a degree in delivering shade, made it clear he heard Smith-Schuster, saying “Browns is the Browns” as he ran off the field.
"THE BROWNS IS THE BROWNS!"
Baker Mayfield coming in hot
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 11, 2021
In the locker room, the Browns ruthlessly trolled Smith-Schuster, who is a TikTok fanatic. Just about every player posted a reference to the Smith-Schuster’s favorite dance, “Corvette Corvette.”
The Browns were HYPED postgame and danced to "Corvette, Corvette" 😅
— ESPN (@espn) January 11, 2021
JuJu Smith Schuster Doesn’t Regret Comment on Browns
Browns defensive end Myles Garrett admitted in his postgame press conference that the statement fired up the team.
“Any talk like that is going to be disrespectful to any team, and we didn’t appreciate it,” Garrett told reporters. “I think we made that known with our performance by getting this big win in their house.”
— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) January 11, 2021
Smith-Schuster was asked about the comment after the game and said he wouldn’t take it back.
“I don’t regret saying what I said,” Smith-Schuster told reporters. “Today wasn’t our night. Hopefully the same Browns show up against the next opponent and do what they did tonight and have a great game.”
Smith-Schuster did show up for the Steelers, albeit they went pass-heavy playing behind from the opening seconds. He finished with a season-high in catches (13) and yards (157).
JuJu on 'The Browns is the Browns' quote: "I don't regret saying what I said. They came out … today wasn't our night. Hopefully the same browns show up against the next opponent and do what they did tonight and have a great game."
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) January 11, 2021
Baker Mayfield on Kareem Hunt: He Ran Pissed Off
With the Steelers out of the way, the Browns get the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs next. Kansas City earned the lone bye in the AFC after finishing the year 14-2.
The Browns have opened as 10-point underdogs against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, but Cleveland is not worried about being doubted.
“Sounds pretty normal to me,” Mayfield said.
#Browns QB Baker Mayfield on being counted out again this next week vs Kansas City: "Sounds pretty normal to me."
— 92.3 The Fan (@923TheFan) January 11, 2021
For running back Kareem Hunt, it’s a homecoming of sorts. Hunt started his career with the Chiefs, but was released after video of him striking a woman was made public.
In his first two seasons in Kansas City, Hunt — a Toledo product — racked up 2,151 rushing yards and 833 receiving yards. He made the Pro Bowl in 2017 as the league’s leading rusher and was on pace for another strong season before being let go by Kansas City.
“Kareem ran pissed off,” Mayfield said. “He ran like he wanted to get to Kansas City.”
The Browns are +2500 to win the Super Bowl, the highest odds of the remaining teams by far. The Chiefs are the favorite at +200, per Odds Shark.