QB Baker Mayfield (1.3.21)

QB Baker Mayfield:

On the feeling and energy after today’s win and converting on third down to close out the game:

“It is a moment I will definitely never forget. First off, I want to start by saying the cliché thing – I truly do mean this and everyone in our locker room honestly believes it – we are not satisfied. We expected to be here. We have worked extremely hard to get here. We are excited to have a chance to be the playoffs. The feeling of walking off the field and the energy in the stadium, playing ‘Cleveland Rocks’ I can see an old school video going on and I can look up and see old school highlights of players like (Browns Legends QBs) Brian Sipe, Bernie Kosar and some old-schoolers on there and for it to be that loud with the limited number of fans, it is a special moment for us.”

On his first down run in the fourth quarter to seal the win:

“However we have do it, I will be happy about it. I heard the play call when I was on the sideline and I was over with (QB) Case Keenum and he told me. I thought he was joking at first because I did not hear it well. We called it, and I said ‘Let’s go do it. Obviously, whatever it takes.’ It was a great call. All of our guys made great blocks, but (RB) Kareem (Hunt) right in front of me, I could hear that collision. He smacked that guy in front of me. He gave me enough room to get the first down.”

On the Browns locker room after the win, particularly for more tenured players who have seen tough times in Cleveland:

“(Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) gave (G) Joel (Bitonio) a chance to talk because he knows that Joel has been the longest-tenured guy here. It means a ton – not only for guys like (DE) Myles (Garrett) and Joel, but if you look at our equipment staff, our support staff and the people who have been here and endured these things, it has not been fun for them. For us, the people who are around us and work more hours than we do and they make our lives easier in a year of ups and downs, it means so much to them. That is truly what it is all about. We are living a dream right now, and we are able to play football as our jobs. To see these guys that have been here and have gone through everything and to see the smiles on their faces and the sense of relief for them is great. That is why we have a lot of new faces in the locker room is to set the new standard. That is what it needs to be. It was a good time in the locker room, but we everybody is like, ‘We have the Steelers next week.’ We will enjoy this one, but onto the next.”

On facing the Steelers again next week in the AFC Wild Card round:

“Obviously, we are facing them again. We are going to get some guys back hopefully, and they are obviously going to get some guys back – they sat quite a few. We will roll with the punches. It sets up a must-win. Like I said earlier this week, it was win or go home for us already. Our playoffs started a week early. It just so happens that we play the same opponent next week. We know what the Steelers are all about. It is going to be a physical game just like tonight was.”

On the last few minutes of the game and his mindset as the Steelers were driving to score down eiht points:

“In my head, I was getting my two-minute thoughts going. We had all three timeouts left with a little over a minute. To us, it is quite an amount of time to be able to go back and try to get in field goal range, if they were to make that two-point conversion. It is preparing yourself to get ready to go out and nothing else. The most important play is always the next one. That is what we were doing as an offense. As soon as they stopped them on the two-point conversion, we knew we needed to get one first down. The mentality changes as soon as that happens. Instead of the passing mentality, you get into the physical mentality that we only need 10 (yards). However we do that, we have to get it. There was no panic. There was no flinching or no panic on our sideline.”

On if he was kicking himself after the third-down sack in the fourth quarter: 

“There are a lot of things I kick myself after. You look at not throwing the ball early to (TE) David (Njoku) on that corner route that (Steelers S) Minkah (Fitzpatrick) broke up. My fourth-down throw straight into the dirt with Higgy (WR Rashard Higgins) right before that. There are a lot of things that we obviously did not play our best game. There is no doubt about that. We are in the playoffs, and we get to learn from this film, play the same opponent, go correct these mistakes and see what happens.”

On reflecting on reaching the playoffs, given the unique circumstances of this past year: 

“For our team to win 11 games this year over a lot of ups and downs, to learn new systems on both offense and defense over Zoom meetings, to have a lot of new faces and get to know each other in a very different way and to come out and find a way to get in the playoffs in a division that has three teams in the playoffs, it is pretty damn special. I am proud of this team. Like I said, we are not satisfied. That is the best part is we have scratched and clawed and found a way to get in when we had to. All we wanted was a chance, and now we have one.”

On what about Head Coach Kevin Stefanski has allowed the Browns to overcome adversity this season: 

“Much like I described our scenario [at the end of the game], maybe we have to go back down and score late in the game right now, Kevin has not flinched. He rolls with the punches. He has the ‘whatever happens, happens’ mentality, which is the correct one to have during – well, it is now 2021 – during the 2020 season. It is the correct mentality to have our guys ready for any obstacle or any adversity that comes our way.”

On the challenges and opportunities the Browns have next week playing at Pittsburgh: 

“The obvious ones. The Steelers are a great team, led by a good coach, and they are a physical team. They find different ways to win and compete no matter what. We have to find a way to win. It is a playoff scenario – win or go home. Like we said, all we wanted was a chance, and now we have it against the same opponent that has a lot of people coming back. It is going to be a physical ballgame.”

On his statement at the NFL Combine prior to being drafted by Cleveland of saying if one person could help turnaround the Browns it would be him: 

“First, I would say I have had a ton of help along the way. Like I said, there has been a lot of turnover. There are very few players that are here who have endured the not so great times, which is why we mentioned guys like Joel (Bitonio), and like you said, Myles did not win a game his rookie year, but it was a turning point. All it takes is you have to weather the storm. You have to be able to take those punches. I have a good buddy – he is the same one I brought up before that played at St Ed’s and I will not cuss – but he says you have to eat your ‘crap burger’ – you can insert the other word for it – you have to eat your ‘crap burger’ before you have a real good burger. A lot of people here have weathered the storm and rolled with those punches, and you are seeing the benefits of just staying tough and doing that, facing adversity head on and saying we are tired of it, and let’s go onto the next one.”

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