CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield is very much looking forward to getting back on the field with his teammates after struggling through the first half of last Sunday’s 29-13 loss to the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston.
Mayfield threw three interceptions in the first half, and all of those turnovers led to Texans scores, including a pick-six that was returned for a touchdown by linebacker Zach Cunningham.
“Very eager,” Mayfield said when asked following Wednesday’s practice about his mindset heading into Week 14.
“Obviously, we have to take it one day at a time to get better throughout the week. I think we watched the film and we learned exactly how we need to start the game and how we need to attack. I think everybody is eager, not just myself.”
In the second quarter, Houston’s defensive players joined in on the scoring after forcing an interception.
The Browns faced a first-and-10 from their own 28-yard line when Cunningham stepped up from his weakside linebacker spot, read a pass from Mayfield to wide receiver Antonio Callaway, jumped the route, corralled the interception and returned the ball 37 yards for a touchdown.
Originally, Cunningham was ruled out of bounds close to the goal line, but a replay review overturned the call on the field and resulted in a touchdown.
The extra point gave the Texans a 17-0 lead over the Browns with 7:26 to play in the second quarter.
Then, the Texans turned interceptions on the next two drives into field goals later in the first half.
“They were just athletic,” Mayfield said. “Playing a team like that when they have athletic guys, they can drop into coverage with certain packages.
“You just have to be smart. You have to take kind of the dink-and-dunk passes until they give you some of the stuff down the field that you were getting later in the game. It is just playing smart when you play a team like that.”
During the first half, Mayfield completed just five of his 13 attempts for 46 yards with the three interceptions, but he rallied at halftime and had a strong finish to the game.
Mayfield finished the game 29 of 43 for 397 yards and one touchdown, a 17-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Rashard “Hollywood” Higgins late in the fourth quarter. In the second half, Mayfield completed 24 of his 30 throws for 351 yards and the one touchdown without a turnover.
“We were not that far off,” Mayfield said.
“We did not need a huge change or switch up what we were calling. We just needed to do it better. That comes into trusting our offense, trusting the guys around me, still throwing the ball on time, getting it out, trusting them to get into the right spots. That is how we have to be.”
Mayfield is looking to build on that second half when the Browns battle the Carolina Panthers at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday
“We are hoping to make that improvement as we go on, continue to do that and be consistent with it,” Mayfield said. “I have seen myself grow in that aspect and continuing it now.”
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