CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield did not have the kind of performance he is used to giving or wanted to have in the 2019 regular-season opener against the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland last Sunday.
Mayfield threw three second-half interceptions, the last of which was returned for a touchdown, in a 43-13 loss to the Titans in front of the home fans, but the second-year quarterback’s focus is squarely on the present and preparing for the Browns’ Monday Night Football game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on September 16.
“Baker is very resilient,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said. “I am not worried about Baker at all. Really, this is the last time I am going to say anything about the last game because we have moved on. It is not even thought about.
“Sometimes, as a quarterback, you have to understand the difference between pressing and not pressing. It is a 22-13 game, and we have a guy running open down the field and we couldn’t get it off. Our team understands that. Nobody else probably does. Moving forward, we can take that experience and get better from it. That is what we are going to do.”
Mayfield completed 25 of his 38 attempts for 285 yards and one touchdown, but threw interceptions on three drives in a four-possession stretch during the second half, the last of which was returned by Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler 38 yards for a touchdown with 3:02 to play in the fourth quarter.
Mayfield was sacked five times for 41 lost yards, but still took every snap at quarterback.
“He is not going to quit, ever,” receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said. “Just from what I know from him, he is not going to quit. We were saying to each other, lead even when it hurts. Jarvis Landry will come walk over and say, ‘Lead when it hurts.’ We are down, whatever the score was, we did not give up.
“Not saying he needs a pat on the back for not giving up, but that just shows you what kind of person he is. He is the leader of this team. Interceptions are not always on the quarterback. It goes under his stats, but it is not always on him. We just need to be where we need to be and make the plays that need to be made.”
Kitchens has seen Mayfield respond to challenges of multiple interception games before, first against Houston, and then, at Baltimore in the 2018 regular-season finale.
During the first half against the Texans on December 1, 2018, Mayfield completed just five of his 13 attempts for 46 yards with three interceptions, but he had a strong finish to the game. In the second half, Mayfield completed 24 of his 30 throws for 351 yards and one touchdown without a turnover.
After throwing a pair of first-half interceptions at the Ravens, Mayfield led three second-half scoring drives, including two of his three touchdown passes in the game.
“Something important for a QB is a short-term memory,” Mayfield said following Thursday’s practice. “Just putting that behind you and making corrections. We have fully made changes, and now, I am going to have my eyes in the right place and do the right thing.”