CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – On a day the Browns needed Baker Mayfield to be his best, he felt his worst and played like it too.
Mayfield tried playing through a rib injury suffered in the fourth quarter of last week’s win over Indianapolis and the Steelers spent the afternoon reminding him of it as Mike Tomlin turned his defense loose.
Mayfield was pulled late in the third quarter with the Steelers in front 31-7.
He finished the afternoon 10 of 18 for 119 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He was sacked four times and hit countless times.
Mayfield’s afternoon started bad and snowballed from there.
Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick stepped in front of a Mayfield throw and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown and quick 10-0 lead on third-and-3 from their own 28. The throw was intended for rookie tight end Harrison Bryant. It was Mayfield’s fourth career pick-6.
Down 10 early in the second quarter Stefanski opted to go for it on fouth-and-4 at the Steelers 37 but rookie left tackle Jedrick Wills false started and the Browns were forced to punt.
Cornerback Terrance Mitchell was helpless defending a 36-yard throw from Ben Roethlisberger to Chase Claypool and James Conner ran it in from 3 yards out on the next play for a 17-0 lead.
Mayfield heaved a prayer after avoiding TJ Watt and the Steelers picked it off at midfield. Roethlisberger turned it into a 28-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open James Washington for a 24-0 lead.
On the bright side, Myles Garrett registered a sack in his fifth straight game, which came before the half, giving him 7.0 this season. Garrett is the only player to have 7 or more sacks in the first 6 games of a season in franchise history, and he’s done it in each of the last 2 years.
Desperation took over in the third quarter. After winning a challenge of a completed pass to Jarvis Landry on third down, but a foot short of the first down, Stefanski went for it at his own 29. Hunt was dropped for a loss of 2.
The Steelers ran it 8 times for 28 yards with the final 3 yards coming courtesy of Claypool who ran it in and got the ball inside the pylon for a 31-7 lead.