Mayfield trucked ahead and picked up the 3rd-and-2 that allowed the Browns to run out the clock, clinching their first playoff spot since 2002.
But even after Mayfield’s heroics in the season finale, offensive lineman Jack Conklin had some hilarious shade for the 6-foot-1 quarterback on Monday. Conklin was prompted with a question about how Mayfield’s personality has evolved this season and he didn’t disappoint with his answer.
“Sort of on the funnier side, I never him expected to accept that he has ‘little man syndrome,'” Conklin told reporters. “You can’t even make the joke to him because he just says, ‘Yeah, I do. I have it.’”
And then when I ask Jack Conklin for the biggest personality surprise in QB Baker Mayfield, he says… wait for it… "He's finally accepted he has 'Little Man Syndrome.'"
We'll see if Baker cops to it when he talks this week… 😉
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) January 4, 2021
Conklin did give a serious answer when it came to the progression of his quarterback.
“I think just understanding that you do not have to extend plays all of the time. Sometimes extending plays is the wrong thing to do. If there is not somebody open or the pocket collapses, it is OK just to throw the ball out of bounds or go for a run,” Conklin said. “You do not always have to try to make the big play. He has done a really good job of that. I think you can see – I do not want to jinx anything – with his touchdown to interception ratio the last few weeks, it has been drastic. It just goes to his decision making and understanding we will live to fight another down. Sometimes that is better than trying to force something.”
Baker Mayfield Was Surprised by Final Play Call
Mayfield is no stranger to high-pressure situations, but with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt in the Browns stable, we was a little surprised to hear a designed run for him called with the game on the line.
“I heard the play call when I was on the sideline and I was over with Case Keenum and he told me,” Mayfield told reporters. “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 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.”
Mayfield finished the clinching contest with 196 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. He added 44 yards on the ground with his legs.
Baker Mayfield, Browns Take Shot at Colin Cowherd
Adding another layer to the big play was what it was called. The QB-run was dubbed, “Maserati,” an apparent shot at talking-head Colin Cowherd, who has long been one of Mayfield’s most vocal opponents.
“When you’re a No. 1 pick, I want you to be a Maserati — not a Mazda,” Cowherd said two years ago.
“It was a good play, and Baker sealed the deal,” Browns guard Joel Bitonio said. “That was special getting Baker to seal the deal there. He is the quarterback of this team and the leader. To have the ball is in his hand to finish the game, that was impressive.”
The Browns face off against the Steelers again on Sunday to wrap up Wild Card weekend. Pittsburgh is a 4.5-point favorite for the matchup, per Odds Shark.
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