Mayfield has unfamiliar challenge: overcoming losses
Baker Mayfield had a 62-10 record as a high school and college quarterback. His record in his first season with the Browns: 1-5. progress on offense, albeit against one of the NFL's worst defenses. The Browns' defense, however, simply couldn't stop the Kansas City Chiefs from dominating in a 37-21 loss, their first game since the firings of coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley on Oct. 29.
A bigger step from Mayfield and company is needed if the Browns hope to upset the Falcons, who, like the Chiefs, have a highpowered offense (ranked eighth in the NFL at 28.5 points per game) but a weak defense (29th, 28.2).
The hope Mayfield provides has given his teammates a different feeling than they had the past two seasons when they went 1-31 under Jackson.
"It's not everything, but it's everything," left guard Joel Bitonio said. "You've got to have a quarterback to win in the NFL, and it hasn't been perfect, but to have him out there with you, there's always that hope that, 'Hey, we have a chance to win this game.'
"To see the work he's put in, the talent that he has and the pieces we can add around him and keep improving with, there are no limits on what we can be in the future."
Falcons coach Dan Quinn said during a conference call that he has been impressed by "the toughness, the accuracy and the quick release" Mayfield has shown. Those attributes can't be seen just by glancing at his lackluster statistics: 60 percent completion percentage, 1,768 yards passing, 10 touchdown passes, seven interceptions and a rating of 81.5. Then there is his record — 1-5 as an NFL starter after he went 62-10 in high school and college.
"He hasn't lost a lot in his lifetime," Bitonio said. "I know it has been tough for him. I know he doesn't take losing easy, like any of us, but as a quarterback of the team, those losses go on your record.
"He has done a great job of turning the page and being focused on the week at hand. That's something that you have to do in the NFL."