Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield might have saved his strongest delivery for Sunday’s post-game.
Moments after throwing a game-sealing interception with 1 minute, 9 seconds left that gave the Kansas City Chiefs a 33-29 win over the Browns in the season opener, Mayfield quickly made sure that his teammates kept the sickening loss in perspective.
When he entered the locker room, Mayfield overheard some conversations and noticed some of his teammates either shaking their heads or hanging them — that is when he stepped up.
“We should have won that game,” Mayfield said he told them. “But there’s 16 more... Be critical of yourself — absolutely should be, and I’ll be damned if we’re not, because we expect to go in there and win — but there are also more opportunities. So you have to roll with the punches, face adversity. How do you handle it — this one should sting and you need to learn from it, because we had that game and we got to close it out.”
The message resonated with running back Nick Chubb, whose momentum-swinging fumble in the third quarter contributed to the Browns blowing a 12-point halftime lead and failing to put away the reigning AFC champions.
“I was thinking, like, the season was over again, because that’s how it ended last year,” Chubb said on Wednesday, recalling his feelings following Cleveland’s 22-17 playoff loss to Kansas City in January. “I had to take a second, step back and realize we have 16 more to go.”
“So it’s not the end of the world. We did lose, but we can correct some things. Me personally, I can correct a lot of things and we can go from there,” Chubb said.
As the Browns are moving forward toward Sunday’s home opener against Houston, there is still some reflection going on after not finishing off the Chiefs.
For Mayfield, that last, forced pass seemed to eclipse all of the good ones that he made in a duel with Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Mayfield was poised to lead the Browns to a comeback win, but came up short. On first down at the Chiefs’ 48, Mayfield moved up in the pocket to avoid a sack and, as he tried to throw the ball out of bounds, safety Daniel Sorensen wrapped up his legs.
Mayfield’s throw was short and an easy pick for cornerback Mike Hughes.
A tough self-evaluator, Mayfield said that he is hardest on himself for his late-game mistakes.
“It’s critical situations,” he said. “Those are the moments where you look back and everybody’s going to remember that last play and that can be the difference.”
“Just try and find a way to not have a negative play,” he added.
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