Baker Mayfield takes blame for Browns offensive struggles

Mayfield looks to bounce back from “worst loss I ever had” this week

Daryl Ruiter
October 17, 2018 - 6:44 pm

© Ken Blaze/Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Regardless of fault, leaders are willing to take the blame and take it upon themselves to fix the problem.

That’s what Baker Mayfield did on Wednesday concerning the recent Browns' sputtering offensive attack.

Mayfield blamed himself for the Browns’ inability to score more than 14 points in the 24-point loss to the Chargers while looking for way to prevent it from lingering this week at Tampa Bay.

“I am hard on myself, but it is not ‘the world is ending’ mentality,” Mayfield said Wednesday. “I revert back to life lessons for me. It does not have to be just about football. I can rely on these players that I have in this locker room. I do not have to do it by myself. It is not about that. I can rely on them, push them and let them know that I am going to do my job better and that we are going to make strides forward.”

The No. 1 overall pick in the draft refused to use a sore ankle after he fell over the yard markers in the first quarter as an excuse for a 22 of 46 passing afternoon that included two interceptions.

“That is the worst loss that I have ever had,” Mayfield said.

Mayfield, 1-2 officially since taking over as the Browns’ starting quarterback (NFL statistics awarded the 21-17 Jets win to Tyrod Taylor), is not accustomed to losing.

He went 24-2 in two years as the starting quarterback at Lake Travis High School in Texas, 33-6 as a starter at Oklahoma and 5-2 at Texas Tech. To put the 24-point defeat in perspective, Mayfield’s worst loss at Texas Tech came to Baylor in 2013, 63-34, and his worst loss at Oklahoma was 45-24 to Ohio State in 2016.

After putting up 63 points in the span of his first six quarters, Mayfield and the Browns have totaled just 26 points in the nine quarters since.

“I would not exactly say that we were soul searching,” Mayfield said. “I just think that we need to do our job.”

To be fair to Mayfield, he has been the victim of several dropped balls the last three weeks, but he refuses to point fingers at anyone but himself.

“I have always said that you can never defend a perfect ball,” Mayfield said. “Even if the guy is covered, if you can put it where only he can reach it, kudos to the quarterback for that. Do a good job of that and then finding my checkdowns. If they are covering people down the field, have to get to the check-down. If not, throw the ball away or make a play.”

After a hot start Sept. 20 against the Jets that saw them hook up on seven of eight targets for 92 yards, the connection between Mayfield and receiver Jarvis Landry has cooled off considerably. Over the last three games combined Landry has caught 11 of 29 targets for 114 yards and a touchdown.

“I will just be better for him, plain and simple,” Mayfield said. “I was not the accurate quarterback that they drafted me to be, so I will fix that. On Jarvis’ end, he is doing his job, so I have to do mine.”

Aside from bouncing back from the blowout, Mayfield is also contending with a depleted receiving corps that outside of Landry has virtually no one with a track record of success.

“It is the next man up mentality,” Mayfield said. “We have guys in here that we have had all of training camp, and then we also have new guys that have played before. We have to trust in that they are going to be able to play and do their job and just go to work.”

Antonio Callaway has caught 15 of 39 targets – 38.5 percent – in six games, four starts, this season.

Damion Ratley bounced back after having a potential touchdown off a flea flicker escape his grasp, by catching six of eight passes for 82 yards against the Chargers, but he is limited in experience as is Da’Mari Scott, who was elevated this week from the practice squad.

Breshad Perriman, signed Saturday, has caught 42.5 percent of targets in 27 games played but Mayfield is hopeful the former Raven will provide a much-needed threat.

“Speed,” Mayfield said of what he sees in Perriman. “Unfortunately, we lost Rod Streater. He was a guy that we had for blowing the top off of coverage and being able to stretch the field. We are hoping we can have that type of a receiver and make some plays with it.”

Regardless of the challenges facing Mayfield as he prepares for Tampa Bay this week, he understands the responsibility to get the offense back on track falls on him.

“If I just do my job and I get the ball out of my hands and I do the things that I have been preaching about, then that takes care of itself,” Mayfield said. “Getting the ball into the playmakers’ hands and letting them make plays, it frees up a lot of things. That gives confidence in Coach Haley to call different plays. That gives our offensive line a break on having to hold up protection for a long time. That also opens up the run game.

“What it boils down to is me doing my job.”