“I hurt this team,” Mayfield said. “That’s the most frustrating thing for me because I thought our defense played tremendous against a really, really good offense. But when you turn the ball over … and give them extra opportunities, they’re gonna take advantage of it. They just who they are.”
Mayfield became just the third quarterback this season to toss three interceptions before halftime, joining Jets rookie Zach Wilson (Week 2) and the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson (Week 12 vs. the Browns). All three of those throws were off target according to ESPN Stats & Information research. And Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers capitalized off all three, turning each of them into touchdown passes as Green Bay built a 21-12 halftime lead.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said he didn’t consider making a quarterback change at halftime and reiterated that Mayfield will remain his starting quarterback for the rest of the season.
“He’s our starting quarterback,” Stefanski said, “yes.”
Despite the early turnovers, the Browns still had a chance to win the game on their last drive. But Mayfield was picked off again in the final minute, becoming the first Cleveland quarterback since Brandon Weeden in 2012 to throw four interceptions in a single game.
“Some of them were bad throws,” Mayfield said, referring to the second and third interceptions, both of which were intended for Jarvis Landry.
Mayfield overthrew Landry on third-and-19 from the Green Bay 24-yard line, resulting in the second interception. Then on the third, he was picked off by Rasul Douglas in Green Bay territory trying to squeeze the ball to Landry down the sidelines.
“Didn’t follow through on the one in the red zone, which was extremely costly, a red-zone turnover. Just sailed high,” Mayfield said. “The other one, just got to put it more outside. (Douglas) made a good play on it. (I) left it inside.”
Douglas also made the game-clinching interception at the Packers 40-yard line on a pass intended for Donovan Peoples-Jones, preventing the Browns from attempting a game-winning field goal in the final seconds.
“Just sucks to end it on another turnover,” he said.
With the loss to Green Bay, the Browns fell to 7-8 and 13th in the AFC standings, and remain in last place in the AFC North Division. The ESPN Football Power Index gave Cleveland just a 16.0% chance to make the playoffs before Saturday’s loss.
Mayfield, who missed Monday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders after testing positive for COVID-19 the week before, didn’t clear the protocols in time to fly with the team to Green Bay on Friday. So the Browns flew him up privately from Cleveland to Green Bay on Saturday morning.
On the reserve/COVID-19 list since Dec. 15, Mayfield had not practiced with his team in more than two weeks leading into the Packers game. But he didn’t attribute any of the mistakes to a lack of preparation.
“It was just missed throws,” he said. “There’s no excuse. It is what it is.”