CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns beat the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon, but the conversations surrounding the game weren't exactly what one would expect following a victory. As quarterback Baker Mayfield continued playing through four injuries, his performance reflected the pain he seemed to be in.
Mayfield threw 15 for 29 with 176 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions and a dismal rating of 53.2. He knew it was a bad game, but the frustrating performance only became more heavy on Mayfield as fans took to booing him after his second interception and after subsequent bad passes.
On Monday, Mayfield spoke with reporters after declining to comment following Sunday's 13-10 win over Detroit. When asked about the booing, Mayfield said there's a reason the booing isn't going to weigh on him.
"Those are probably the same fans that won't be quiet while we're on offense and trying to operate so, don't really care," Mayfield said.
Home-field advantage works well when a fan base shows up and cheers loudly when the team is on defense, with the noise making it hard for the opposing offense to communicate and run plays each drive. Optimally, a fan base would be as quiet as possible when the team is on offense to allow the players to hear the call, snap count and anything else the quarterback is trying to convey to the team.
On Sunday against the Lions, as Mayfield was struggling in the air, fans grew frustrated, and rather than remain quiet on offense, began chanting "Chubb, Chubb, Chubb" before many of the plays, calling for more rushes from Nick Chubb, who played perhaps the biggest role in the Browns' victory Sunday with his 22 carries for 130 yards and two receptions for 14 yards and a touchdown.
Mayfield's point about fans being loud on offense is valid, but his frustrations on Sunday were deeper than just a stadium that was loud at the wrong times.
The quarterback said, "For me, decision-making was great. It was the lack of execution. I'm not going to make every throw, nobody does that. But very, very frustrated with where I was going with the ball compared to how the results were. And that's very, very frustrating. I've always been an accurate guy and that was not the case yesterday, and that's extremely frustrating to me when I feel like I let my teammates down."
The quarterback is dealing with a torn labrum in his left shoulder and a fractured humerus bone in the same arm, as well as a foot injury and a knee injury that he's playing through.
Mayfield said last week that this is "probably the most beat up I’ve ever been in my career, and it’s not like it’s one particular thing, it’s multiple," but also has said numerous times that while he'll fight hard through the injuries, he wouldn't play if it negatively impacted the team—which is another reason why Mayfield was so frustrated after Sunday's performance.
"Preparation week, everything leading up to the game was great, felt like I was in a good position to be able to play—and play at a high level—and I didn't," Mayfield said. "That's a very frustrating thing."
Those frustrations about the way he executed and the limited way he was able to perform Sunday hit a fever pitch by the end of the game, and Mayfield walked straight off the field—not celebrating the win with his teammates on the field, speaking to anyone on the Lions or acknowledging any fans on his way into the tunnel—going straight back to the locker room and later declining to appear at the podium for post-game media availability.
Mayfield has been available to reporters through some difficult moments for the Browns—head coaching changes, tough losses, bad performances and even off-field drama—so it was shocking for many when he chose not to speak Sunday evening. But Mayfield said that he wasn't avoiding any questions, but rather taking the time to let his frustrations fizzle. That's time we have to remember he has a right to as a human first and a player second.
"I was frustrated, among other things. I've never dodged any questions or hid away from that, so it's not about that. Just frustrated. Removed emotions and all that from it and just decided it was best to wait," Mayfield said. "Not one part of that is not being accountable. I'd be the first to tell you I played like **** so it's not about accountable, and I don't owe you guys any of that. I owe that to my teammates, and I talked to them, so that's what matters."
With a new week starting and the Baltimore Ravens next up on the schedule, Mayfield and the Browns are regrouping and will continue to push forward as their sights remain on finishing the season strong with the hopes of the playoffs still in their reach.
Mayfield, despite battling numerous injuries, didn't miss a snap Sunday, and head coach Kevin Stefanski said he didn't consider putting Case Keenum in to let Mayfield rest Sunday. That's not expected to change this week.
Stefanski said that they'll monitor Mayfield throughout the week, but as long as he's cleared, as he has been for all but one game this season, he will start against Baltimore. Mayfield said he expects to "be in better condition that I have in the past weeks" and said there's only one thing he cares about, even amid the frustrations he was feeling.
"My guys know that all I care about is winning, but I’m going to be frustrated if I do stuff to make it harder on us, and I did yesterday, and that’s just flat-out where it was. I’m never going to take winning for granted. That’s something that’s very hard to do in this league, and it hasn’t been a very common thing around here for a long time," Mayfield said. "I’m just frustrated with how I played, and that’s how I’ve always been. They know I’m going to come back and attack this week, and that’s how I’ve always been."
Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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