Mayfield Struggles in Browns 38-14 Loss
Written by Brandon Lewis on October 15, 2018
Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield played his worst game as a pro on Sunday as the Browns lost to the Los Angeles Chargers 38-14, dropping the Browns record to 2-3-1 on the season.
Early in the second quarter, Mayfield used his wheels on a third down to move the chains, but he slipped on the marker and appeared to roll his ankle. Mayfield would stay in the game, but he never looked the same. He finished completing only 48 percent of his throws, and the passing game was not sharp at all. However, it was not all on Mayfield. The Browns entered the game with only four healthy wide receivers because of injury, and, by the end of the game, only Jarvis Landry and Antonio Callaway were the healthy wideouts for Mayfield. The offensive line also did not play well, with Mayfield getting sacked five times in the contest. The lone bright spot for the Browns passing game; David Njoku. The second-year tight end caught seven passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. If he can keep up those numbers and the Browns offense can get healthy, their passing game could be lethal late in the season, but as for right now, it is a major concern going into next week. The Browns did sign Breshad Perriman on Saturday, but I would expect them to sign another receiver this week to help out Mayfield.
The Browns running game was not much better. Carlos Hyde ran the ball 14 times for 34 yards, averaging just over two yards a carry. The Chargers really zoned in on him and forced the Browns offensive line to move backward on almost every play he was in the backfield. While Duke Johnson and rookie Nick Chubb combined for 61 yards on only five runs, most of those yards were in garbage time when the game was already over. If the Browns want to win more games this year, they have to establish Hyde early. When Hyde has had good games, the Browns have won. When Hyde has struggled, the Browns have lost. It is that simple for the Browns running game.
After a great performance last week against the Ravens, the Browns defense played awful against the Chargers. Quarterback Philip Rivers only completed 11 passes, but he finished with over 200 yards and two touchdown passes to wideout Tyrell Williams. The Chargers hit the Browns with the big play through the air, and the Browns secondary has to play better if there pass defense is going to hold up throughout the season.
Not only did the Chargers hit the Browns with the big play through the air, but they also did it on the ground too. Running back Melvin Gordon had three touchdowns and 132 yards on 18 carries and Austin Eckler added in 60 yards on only seven carries. The Chargers were able to run both in-between and outside the numbers against a Browns run defense that has struggled in recent weeks. The Chargers finished with just under 250 yards rushing, an inexcusable number to be giving up for a team that defense is supposed to be the bright spot.
Next week, the Browns travel to Tampa to take on the Bucs.