No late heroics from Baker Mayfield, Browns in 32-28 loss to Seahawks

Mayfield battered, bruised, getting picked and losing in second NFL season

Daryl Ruiter
October 13, 2019 - 9:34 pm

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Baker Mayfield had a chance to do what the great quarterbacks do, lead a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter.

A legendary finish was not in the cards on this sun-splashed Sunday afternoon on the shores of Lake Erie against Seattle, and like just about everything else in his sophomore season, it went sideways.

Trailing by 4, the bid ended quickly when Mayfield’s 37th pass attempt bounced off the hands of running back Dontrell Hilliard into the hands of Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright with 2:41 left on the clock.

“Tough catch for him,” Mayfield said. “Just seems a lot of those bounces right there are not going in our favor.”

It was the third interception of the afternoon for Mayfield, who now has an NFL-worst 11 of them through 6 games this season.

The Browns’ scorching hot start and a 20-6 lead vanished quickly in the 32-28 loss that dropped them to 0-3 at home and Mayfield to 8-11 as an NFL starter.

“It is a loss, and we are sick of losing,” Mayfield said. 

“I think we have played better at times than 2-4, but the fact is we are 2-4. There is no getting around it. There is no way of hiding it. That is what we have to learn from to get better.”

Mayfield also played through a left hip injury suffered during an 8-yard scramble for a first down that saw him in agonizing pain only to leave the field to be examined in the third quarter, but he didn’t miss an offensive snap.

“Kind of tender right now, but we will see,” Mayfield said after the game.

Did it affect him?

“A little bit, but that is not an excuse,” Mayfield said. “It hurts, but it’s a physical game of football.”

Mayfield completed 22 of 37 passes for 249 yards in the loss.

“Baker’s a tough individual,” head coach Freddie Kitchens said. “He is a tough quarterback mentally and physically. He will be fine.”

None of the 3 picks were Mayfield’s fault but they still get added to the pile.

His first two interceptions came in the second quarter.

With 6:20 remaining on a second and 10 at the Seattle 46, Odell Beckham Jr. got picked off by a defender and Mayfield threw the slant right into the arms of Seahawks cornerback Tre Flowers at the 39.

“Odell ran a slant, and he got hit. They picked him off from the ball,” Kitchens explained. “It was inside of 5 yards, so it is not a penalty.”

Fortunately, there was no damage done and the Browns till held a 20-12 advantage.

Mayfield and the Browns weren’t so fortunate on the second pick, which was intended for Jarvis Landry in the end zone on a second and 8 from the Seattle 10 with 1:36 remaining.

“I threw it a little behind Jarvis,” Mayfield said. “Trying to keep him away from the safety but [Shaquill] Griffin made a good play on it.”

Griffin popped the ball in the air, and it was grabbed by safety Tedric Thompson, who returned it 18 yards out to the 12.

Instead of grinding the clock down by giving the ball to Chubb, who finished with 122 yards on 20 carries and 2 touchdowns, Kitchens wanted the Browns to save his timeouts, score quickly, use the timeouts on defense to get the ball back and score again.

“I thought Baker was wired in, focused, concentrated during the course of the week,” Kitchens said. “We had the best week of practice that we have had and did not execute in the critical situations, and I did not call good enough plays in critical situations.”

The strategy backfired.

Seattle moved down the field in 1:07 running 8 plays, traveling 88 yards to climb within 20-18 at the half and the game was decidedly slipping away after the Browns scored touchdowns on their first 3 possessions.

They wouldn’t see the end zone again until the fourth quarter.

“We had four turnovers,” Kitchens said. “We had 400 yards of offense and had 28 points with four turnovers.”

Mayfield’s third interception was the back breaker.

“The corner backed off. The linebacker buzzed the flap trying to get it to him before he gets there and kind of throw it on his back hip,” Mayfield explained on the throw to Hilliard.

“Trell played great. Obviously, there is a lot of stuff that we can look back on and learn from. Stuff like that is going to happen. It is just the timing of it is obviously not great. Tried to protect him on the throw, but it is a tough one.”

Despite the disappointing start, Mayfield believes they can still achieve their goal of making the playoffs.

“If we don’t hurt ourselves, this team can go where we want to go,” Mayfield said. “I said it earlier in the week, we found out the problem and it is self-inflicted mistakes that is holding us back and shooting ourselves in the foot. If we can eliminate that, we can be a great football team. If you have to constantly overcome things like that, it is tough.”