The last thing the San Francisco 49ers needed on Monday night was more motivation.
Playing in primetime against an over-hyped Cleveland Browns team was the perfect situation for the Niners to put to bed any conversation about their undefeated record being a sham. But when veteran cornerback Richard Sherman accused Baker Mayfield of refusing to shake his hand at midfield before the coin toss, it added even more fuel to an already well burning fire.
The 49ers went on to get the convincing 31-3 victory and Sherman exacted his revenge on Mayfield, picking off him off on the second drive of the game.
Following the win, Sherman — a nine-year vet and Super Bowl champion — tore into Mayfield for his lack of NFL etiquette.
“What’s amazing, and annoying, was him not shaking hands at the beginning,” Sherman told reporters. “That’s some college s—. It’s ridiculous. We’re all trying to get psyched up, but shaking hands with your opponent — that’s NFL etiquette. And when you pull bush league stuff, that’s disrespectful to the game. And believe me, that’s gonna get us fired up.”
Sherman continued on the the rant, citing Mayfield’s lack of an NFL resume.
“Respect the game,” Sherman said. “You can have rivals, but pay your respect in that moment — especially when you’re young … He hasn’t earned anything in this league. How many games has he won? He’s acting like he was the MVP last year. If (Patrick) Mahomes did that, it would be one thing. But he would never do that, because he has too much respect for the game.
“And when you see a guy who doesn’t? You humble him every chance you get. Because eventually, he will have respect for the league — or he’ll be out of it.”
49ers Rookie Nick Bosa Plants Flag, Silences Baker Mayfield
Mayfield has never been known for his quiet demeanor, never shying away from chirping on the field or in a postgame presser.
But after the disaster that was his Monday night performance — which included just 100 yards on 8 of 22 passing with 2 interceptions and 2 fumbles — he was speechless, according to 49ers rookie defensive end Nick Bosa.
“I was kind of trying to talk [to Mayfield],” Bosa told reporters after the game. “I don’t usually talk, but this game he had it coming. He didn’t say one word back.
“I was just screaming his name like, ‘Baaaaaker. Baaaaaker. You good? Step it up. We want a challenge.’”
Bosa made headlines for his flag planting celebration, but his stat line should be front and center. The No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft proved well worth the pick on MNF, notching four tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, five quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Baker Mayfield Pulled Due to Fear of More Hits
Bosa and the 49ers’ big guys up front — DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead — had Mayfield on the run and tumbling to the turf all night. So much so that Browns coach Freddie Kitchens decided to remove Mayfield in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach.
“I thought he was taking too many hits unnecessarily,” Kitchens said.
Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reported that Mayfield had ice on his shoulder and a sleeve on his left leg after the game. However, the QB said he’d be fine when speaking to the media.
“I’ll be alright. I think the general nature of that game, just a physical game. I’ll be good,” Mayfield said.