CLEVELAND — The build-up leading into Sunday’s matchup between the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers rode on the outcome of quarterback Baker Mayfield playing in Charlotte.
The result? A dramatic finish to a 17-point fourth quarter and field goal finish between the two teams.
The first quarter brought immense pressure from the Browns defensive weapons. On the first play of the game, the pass from Mayfield fell incomplete with a bat-down from defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
The following two possessions resulted in punts from Carolina, figuring out what it meant to find rhythm and pace early on. However, Browns safety Grant Delpit later read Mayfield's deep pass for an interception.
The turnover resulted in points on the board for the Browns. It was indicative something wasn’t clicking for Carolina, but Cleveland gave an answer to each mistake in the first half.
Mayfield's mental mistakes resulted in a total of four sacks for Cleveland, two of which were by defensive end and friend Myles Garrett.
By the end of the first half, Cleveland was up 17-7. The Browns felt comfortable in their own skin, giving Mayfield a chance at turning around the mentality going into the third quarter.
It was as if Baker walked into a new game, where he proceeded to lead his team to an explosive fourth quarter that broke down the Browns coverage.
“And just like our team, our whole team showed and that second half, we're going to fight. We're going to be in games when we like to be up late in games,” Mayfield said in the post-game press conference. “Absolutely everybody would. But we're not going to give up. That's not the culture we have.”
A massive fourth quarter not only exposed the cracks in Cleveland’s defense, but ensured the conversation wasn’t over for Mayfield and his impact on the Browns.
Mayfield finished the game 16-of-27 for a total of 235 yards and two touchdowns. One of which was a 76-yard throw with no blocker in sight and the “PANTHERS” painted end zone.
With a final score of 26-24 in favor of Cleveland, Mayfield fell short of giving the Browns a taste of his own medicine following the trade.
“I would love to have bragging rights against those guys,” he said. “But, we didn’t finish mostly because we didn’t start fast.”
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