Cleveland lost, 24-22, and in the process, fell to 7-8. The Browns now find themselves in fourth place in the AFC North, and it has become clear, if not 100% certain, that Mayfield is not the answer at quarterback.
Baker Mayfield threw four interceptions in Cleveland’s loss to Green Bay
To be fair, not all of the interceptions were his fault. Still, there’s no doubt that the main storyline coming out of this game for Cleveland is the fact that Mayfield gave the ball to the Packers four times through the air. Especially in a contest that ended up being as close as it was, those four giveaways essentially lost the Browns the game.
The Cleveland quarterback finished with a miserable 55.3 passer rating. He completed just 21-of-36 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns. And no, the picks weren’t all his fault. On his first and fourth interceptions, the Packers probably benefited from two non-calls that appeared to be pass interference. Still, Mayfield was throwing to the other team all game on Saturday afternoon. If we didn’t know better, there would be calls for him to be checked for colorblindness. The Browns were wearing white. The Packers were wearing their home green. Mayfield apparently couldn’t see the difference.
He was arguably the best player on the Packers team, not named Aaron Rodgers or Davante Adams. He played the role of Santa for the adoring fans at Lambeau Field. He basically gift-wrapped the Packers the game.
Mayfield negated all the work Nick Chubb did for the Browns
What had to make Mayfield’s awful day even more burdensome for head coach Kevin Stefanski and the Browns is the fact that Cleveland’s offense really unlocked the key to beating the Packers, especially in the second half.
Nick Chubb was gashing Green Bay’s defense all night, and he turned it on when it mattered most. Chubb carried the ball 17 times for 126 yards and a touchdown, averaging an incredible 7.4 yards per carry. D’Ernest Johnson also pitched in with four rushes for 58 yards (14.5 yards per carry), and the Browns as a whole rushed for 219 yards as a team.
Had Mayfield not turned the ball over at the clip that he did, the Browns had figured out how to wear down a Green Bay defense that entered the game as one of the best in the league.
After going down 24-12 early in the third quarter, the Browns scored 10 straight points and actually had a chance to win the game after getting the ball back with 2:05 to go in the contest. The Browns relied on Chubb to take the ball from their own 25-yard line to midfield with under a minute to go.
In a great position with a stacked deck of timeouts and the ball at the 50, Mayfield threw the ball three-straight times. The first two were incomplete passes. The third was his fourth interception of the game, which sealed the win for Green Bay.
Mayfield is not the answer for the Cleveland Browns
It has to hurt for the Browns to realize, especially considering the franchise’s abysmal history at the quarterback position. With that said, it’s become rather clear that Mayfield isn’t going to be the one to lead Cleveland to the promised land. Frankly, it was likely clear before Christmas Day, but the four-interception game against the Packers was a stark reminder, especially as Mayfield was being directly compared to Rodgers.
There was a point in the first half when FOX showed a shocking graphic. Mayfield had thrown 17 passes to that point in the game, three of which were intercepted. That was compared to Rodgers, who had thrown 469 pass attempts to that point in the season…with only four total interceptions thrown.
An elite defense can win you a Super Bowl but the NFL is undoubtedly a league dominated by high-level quarterback play right now.
In Rodgers, the Browns were looking across the field at the type of quarterback they would love to have. They were looking at the type of quarterback they thought Mayfield could be when they took him No. 1 overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Including the four picks he threw against the Packers, Mayfield has now thrown 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season. Since entering the league in 2018, he’s thrown just 90 touchdowns compared to 54 interceptions. You do the math on that interception-to-touchdown ratio. It’s not pretty.
Those aren’t numbers worthy of the No. 1 overall pick, and if you’re in the Browns front office, those aren’t numbers worthy of the next contract Mayfield will ultimately want.
The Browns need to move on from Mayfield sooner rather than later. If it wasn’t clear before, it is now.