CLEVELAND — However remote it was, the Cleveland Browns mathematically had a chance at the postseason entering their Week 16 matchup against the AFC North Division champion Baltimore Ravens at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.
Although the Browns took a six-point lead in the second quarter, they were unable to find consistent offensive production and struggled to get stops late in the first half in route to a 31-15 loss to the Ravens in the 2019 home finale.
“It comes back on us not doing our job,” Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said after the loss. “You do not ever want to have to rely on somebody else to get into the playoffs. We just have to do our job first and foremost, and we did not do that.
“We just didn’t make the plays. They are a great team. Obviously, their record indicates that. They are rolling right now and have a lot of momentum. We have to do our job. We have a very high standard for ourselves, and we didn’t meet that.”
Here is a breakdown of Mayfield’s performance in the Browns’ regular-season finale.
What did Mayfield do?
Mayfield completed 20 of his 33 attempts for 192 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Mayfield posted an 84.4 passer rating in the game against the Ravens, whom he is now 2-2 against as a starting quarterback.
Additionally, Mayfield gained four yards on two carries and for only the second time this season, was not sacked in the game.
Browns coach Freddie Kitchens has said all season he needs to put players in better positions for success, but in the loss to the Ravens, another one of those situations arrived, and again, the offense came up short.
The Browns had 78 seconds and two timeouts to move the ball down the field and into the end zone against the Ravens late in the second quarter, but instead of retaking the lead, momentum turned in favor of the visiting team.
The Browns (6-9) called questionable plays and suffered a lack of execution that led to a bizarre set of circumstances and two Baltimore touchdown drives in less than two minutes in their 16-point loss to the Ravens (13-2).
Instead of keeping the ball on the ground and running out the clock, Browns coach Freddie Kitchens called three straight pass plays, all of which resulted in incompletions for Mayfield, as he was off the mark with wide receiver Damion Ratley and Jarvis Landry.
After the incompletions and a 50-yard punt from Jamie Gillan, the Ravens moved the ball 75 yards down the field in seven plays and took a 14-6 lead into halftime.
That 27-second drive followed a halfback pass play call on third-and-one that was stopped for a seven-yard loss and forced a Browns punt on the previous possession. Just two plays later, the Ravens took a 7-6 lead and never looked back.
“In a two-minute situation, (we’re) trying to get points before halftime,” Mayfield said. “We had two timeouts with a little over a minute. We were just trying to push the ball downfield. They brought some pressures, so we were trying to get the ball out quick.”
Mayfield and the Browns take the show on the road one final time this year as they travel to Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati to face their in-state rivals, the Cincinnati Bengals, and conclude the 2019 “Battle of Ohio” in the regular-season finale.
What are they saying?
“We just didn’t make the plays on offense we needed to,” Mayfield said. “Six points in the first half isn’t good enough. We have to make more plays, take advantage of our one-on-ones and execute. A team like that is going to find ways to win. They have done that all year. We know that we have to do our job consistently.”