Just about everything went wrong for the Cleveland Browns against the New England Patriots in Week 10, but at least one star player felt more could have been done to right the ship during gameplay in what turned out to be the team’s worst loss of the season.
Myles Garrett spoke to reporters following the Browns’ embarrassing 45-7 defeat at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, November 14, and the elite NFL pass rusher did not hold back on what he felt was one of Cleveland’s most crucial failures of the day.
Mary Kay Cabot, Browns beat writer for Cleveland.com, shared Garrett’s comments on Twitter Sunday night.
“Myles Garrett laments ‘we didn’t make adjustments’ against the #Patriots offense, but such talk (if he meant it the way it sounded) is probably best kept in-house in this tight playoff race,” Cabot tweeted.
Browns in Turmoil, Playoff Push Threatened by Big Loss to Patriots
Cabot is unquestionably right about one thing: Cleveland is in a crowded race with seven other teams — all of which boast as good of a record as the Browns, if not a better one — for three Wildcard spots in the upcoming NFL Playoffs.
With a record of 5-5, Cleveland occupies last place in the AFC North Division and would be watching from home if the playoffs started today. The team has a brutal schedule remaining that includes back-to-back contests against the division-leading Baltimore Ravens with a bye week sandwiched in between, road games at the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers, and a season capper at home against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The only game that feels like close to a lock is next week in Cleveland against the Detroit Lions, but if this topsy turvy NFL season has taught us anything, it’s that no such thing as a lock exists, especially in the AFC.
The last several weeks have been volatile ones for the Browns, to say the least, and their on-field performances have reflected that. Following resolution of the Odell Beckham Jr. saga, which saw Cleveland waive the former Pro-Bowl wide receiver on Friday, November 5, the Browns went on the road to Cincinnati and crushed the resurgent Bengals 41-16. But just one week later, Cleveland followed up its biggest, and most impressive, victory of the year with its largest margin of defeat against the Patriots.
All things considered, Garrett’s decision to call out the coaching staff’s inability to adjust to a New England offense limited in what it can do by its rookie quarterback’s lack of NFL experience may not be the best strategy, even after a 38-point bludgeoning.
On the other hand, accountability is key, especially with starting quarterback Baker Mayfield banged up even worse than he was previously following Sunday’s loss.
Mayfield Future Uncertain After Injury in New England
Mayfield hit the deck in the 4th quarter against the Patriots and didn’t take another snap. The initial diagnosis was vague, classified as a knee injury.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said his quarterback could have returned to the field if necessary, but the outcome of the game was decided by that time so bringing Mayfield back served no purpose.
The QB himself told reporters following the game that there was no structural damage to his knee, but also included an element of uncertainty as to his status next week against the Lions in what is, without question, a must-win game for the Browns considering the difficulty of their schedule down the stretch.
“I’ve got to find a way to get as healthy as possible,” Mayfield said. “Pretty beat up right now. We’ll see. Awkward landing.”
The Browns starter is also struggling through a fractured left shoulder, along with a completely torn labrum in the same joint. Mayfield will require surgery at season’s end, though he appears capable of seeing the year through, at least for now.
Backup quarterback Case Keenum has started one game in Mayfield’s stead this season — a Thursday Night Football showcase on October 21. The Browns edged out the Denver Broncos 17-14 in that contest, indicating that Cleveland wouldn’t be hapless should they be forced to face the Lions with their No. 2 option under center. Beyond next week, however, it’s tough to see a Keenum-led Browns team winning enough games to make a legitimate play at a postseason berth.
One thing is for certain, whether Keenum plays at all or not, adjustments and accountability from Browns players and coaches alike will be crucial to any positive results across the stretch run. So Garrett, as a team captain and on-field leader, should say whatever he feels he needs to say in order to make that happen.