CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Odell Beckham Jr. wasn’t the only player upset they didn’t get to finish out Sunday’s 38-7 loss at Pittsburgh.
Quarterback baker Mayfield was just as upset.
As it turns out, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt took the brunt of the displeasure from Mayfield.
“Baker was not real happy,” Van Pelt said Thursday. “He did not talk to me for a little while after the game either. He wanted to stay in, as well.
“Those are the guys you want on your team – the fighters, the guys that want to finish the race. Like I did say, this is a 16-game one-at-a-time sprint, and it is a little bit of a marathon in that regard. We had some guys that were injured that needed to get out of that game and get healthy for the long run. I do appreciate the fact that they want to play, and I love that about those guys.”
Mayfield, who played through a rib/chest injury suffered the week before, completed 10 of 18 passes for a season-low 119 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He had a 54.9 rating before backup Case Keenum finished the game.
Mayfield now has six interceptions in six games, and it marked the 11th multi interception game of Mayfield’s young career.
“You have to keep getting better each week,” Van Pelt said. “It is always about the ball first and protecting the football, whether you are a ball carrier or a passer. Making great decisions is a big part of it.”
Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick picked Mayfield off on the opening series and returned it for a touchdown to put the Browns down 10-0 in the blink of an eye. Hi second interception came while escaping pressure on a throw downfield into coverage.
“He got a little fooled on the coverage there on the first pick, and the second one was just a poor decision of trying to do too much,” Van Pelt said. “It is fundamental. It is that happy medium of knowing when the play is over and ultimately knowing that turnovers cost us. We can’t turn the ball over at that position or any position on the offense.”
Opportunity Knocks – After failing to create a turnover against the Steelers, the Browns defense is looking to get back to getting their hands on a few footballs Sunday in Cincinnati.
Defensive coordinator Joe Woods showed his unit some missed opportunities Thursday morning, lesson’s he’s expecting them to learn this weekend.
“Getting turnovers for us defensively, it changes the game because we either want to score with it, which we have, or we want to get it back for our offense and set them up,” Woods said. “Not getting turnovers against Pittsburgh was huge.
“There were balls tipped. It just felt like the football gods were not with us. The RPO, we squeezed twice, the ball is in the air and we have three guys around it. The tip on the third one, barely missed it. There were some opportunities. We were just a step slow.”
In their first meeting, Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow threw it 61 times but did not throw an interception. Burrow has thrown it 35 or more times in five of their six games this season.
Linebacker Mack Wilson hopes Burrow will let it fly Sunday.
“For a quarterback to throw the ball 60 times, that sounds like at least two to three interceptions to me,” Wilson said. “We just have to do a great job with making sure everybody is locked in, playing within the gameplan and just attack the ball.”
Mixon Hobbled – Bengals running back Joe Mixon did not practice again Thursday due to a foot injury suffered last week against the Colts.
Mixon ran for 46 yards on 16 carries in Week 2’s loss to the Browns and is averaging 4.1 yards per carry this season for Cincinnati.
Playoff Picture – The Browns haven’t made the playoffs since the 2002 season but with a 4-2 start, they’re in the picture here in 2020.
If the playoffs were to begin this weekend, the Browns would be the No. 6 seed and face the current No. 3 seed and defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs.
The 5-0 Steelers are the current top seed in the AFC while the second place Ravens are No. 5.
Injury report – DNP: LB Jordan Phillips (knee), RG Wyatt Teller (calf), DT Sheldon Richardson (Achilles); LIMITED: S Andrew Sendejo (shin), P Jamie Gillan (groin), RB Kareem Hunt (ribs), S Karl Joseph (hamstring), WR Jarvis Landry (hip/ribs), C JC Tretter (knee); FULL: QB Baker Mayfield (chest), TE David Njoku (shoulder), LB Tae Davis (elbow), S Ronnie Harrison (concussion)