Sunday wasn’t pretty for Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield — three interceptions, five sacks and one big fat L to start the season in a form of a 43-13 blowout against the Tennessee Titans.
Watching from afar was his former college head coach Lincoln Riley at Oklahoma, who helped guide Mayfield to the Heisman Trophy during his final season as a Sooner.
Riley spoke to John Hoover of “The Franchise Drive” about Mayfield’s Week 1 struggles.
“It’s gonna happen,” Riley said. “That’s part of that league. There’s other good teams. You’re gonna have a day like that every now and then. He’ll respond.”
The Browns will need him to in a big way, as a game with the New York Jets is up next on Monday Night Football. The Jets dropped their opener 17-16 to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, allowing 14 fourth-quarter points.
Baker Mayfield Will Bounce Back, Riley Says
Mayfield had an uneven performance, finishing 25 or 38 for 285 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Two of Mayfield’s turnovers were flipped into Titans’ TDs, including a long pick-six by Malcom Butler to punctuate the victory.
It was a tough outing, but Mayfield was playing behind a patch work offensive line after offensive tackle Greg Robinson was ejected and his backup Kendall Lamm was injured.
“Everybody is going to throw us in the trash, and I think that’s good,” Mayfield said after the game. “I know what type of men we have in this locker room and quite frankly, I really don’t give a damn what happens on the outside. I know how we’re gonna react, I know what we’re gonna do, how we’re gonna bounce back.”
Riley pointed to a 45-24 loss to Ohio State in 2016 as a time in college where Mayfield had to learn from a loss and bounce back. The future No. 1 overall pick was 17 of 32 for 226 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.
“He’s been beat, though,” Riley said. “We got beat by Ohio State here pretty good that second year.”
Mayfield and the Sooners not only won 22 of their next 23 from that point, but also famously beat Ohio State the next season, with Mayfield planting the OU flag in field.
“I don’t think it had anything to do with on the (offseason hype),” Riley said. “It puts more of a target on his back sometimes, but that’s him. He doesn’t let that bother him. So, regardless of anything that happened in the offseason, I think he’ll bounce back like he always has.”
Browns Give Update on Baker Mayfield’s Hand Injury
Baker Mayfield received X-Rays on his hand following the loss to the Titans, but they came back negative. That might have been one of the only positives for the Browns following the rout.
Browns coach Freddie Kitchens confirmed to reporters that the injury shouldn’t be an issue going forward and he doesn’t expect Mayfield to miss any practice time.
“I’m pretty sure he’ll be fine,” Kitchens said.