Browns-Steelers postgame transcripts, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020

Rob McBurnett

Director, Community & Corporate Communications

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:

Opening statement: 

“Injury wise, really got out of it OK. (QB) Baker (Mayfield) there, I just did not want to see him get hit one more time, and I put that on myself. Went into this game knowing we had to keep him clean, and we did not do a good enough job so that that starts with me obviously. He is a very, very tough player and I know he wants to fight, but it is a long season, we have a game next week and I did not feel like it was the right thing to put him back out there.

“Bottom line got beat. Credit to them. We did not do anything right obviously. Offensively, could not sustain drives and could not get a first down on third or fourth down, but again, credit to them. Guys fought. Then we have to learn from this and move on because you have another one next week, a division opponent on the road.”

On how much Mayfield’s injury contributed to his play today and if the injury was why the team made a QB change:

“Yes, [that is why we made the change]. I do not know if it contributed early. I know this, I did not do a good enough job allowing him to be put in those positions. It is something that I have to do way better. I can’t let him get hit like that.”

On if the Browns ‘have a decision to make’ for who will start at QB next week:

“No. Baker will start as long as he is healthy, and I think he will be.”

On why the Browns OL did not have as much success as previous games:

“I think it is an easy answer – I do not think it is the full answer – but I give [the Steelers] credit. They did a good job. I am sitting here saying, ‘What can I do better?’ I know there are a few things that I would like to improve next time, but to their credit, they rushed the passer and did a nice job. There were a couple that for coverage or for whatever reason the ball did not get out so the guys were fighting, but I am going to figure out how I can do better there.”

On if he would call this ‘a sobering loss’ and how the Browns compare to the Steelers and Ravens, given the two losses:

“I just look at this game. If you want to call it sobering, that is probably a pretty good word. We lost this game. We are going to react to this one and figure out how we can do better for the next one.”

On if he was surprised by how often the Steelers defense pressured Mayfield:

“That is what they do. I do not think they changed who they are. I think we need to point the finger at ourselves, starting with me. What can I do better that is schematic? There are a bunch of different things that I can do better to make sure we do not put ourselves in that spot.”

On what he told Mayfield after his interceptions:

“I will watch the tape and then continue to coach him off the good stuff and off the bad stuff. We are not built to turn it over. He knows that. Again, I am going to figure out what I can do better and help him out because I did not help him out today.”

On WR Odell Beckham Jr. showing frustration on the sideline:

“Just normal frustration when you come out and you get beat like that. You just have to make sure one [loss] does not turn into two. That is this game, and then we have a big one next week.”

On if the Steelers did anything schematically different up front that he did not expect: 

“I want to look at it before I can give you a real good answer there. Based on what I saw from the sideline and just looking at the surface, I would not say they did anything out of the ordinary, no.”

On what the Browns learned from their Week 1 loss against the Ravens and how they will apply that following today’s loss: 

“With any loss, you can’t let it linger. You learn from it and you move on. We will watch the tape tomorrow, we will have everybody in and we will watch it, what can we learn from it and then move on. That is the simple answer, but I just think you can’t dwell on these things. The next one is coming.”

On if the Browns’ losses coming to two divisional opponents says anything about the Browns:

“I could really only speak to this one. We got beat today by a good football team. Credit to them. We have to do better next time.”

On putting Mayfield back in the game after halftime following hits in the first half:

“I checked in with him. I checked in with the medical staff. He was cleared. It does not mean he was not sore. He was cleared to play. The second play, we run a screen and he gets hit. Again, point the finger at me, please. That is not good enough.”

On if the Browns fully felt the absence RB Nick Chubb today for the first time today, given the team was not as successful in the running game:

“I do not think that is fair. We will get Nick back when he is ready, but we are going to ride with the guys we have, and we have plenty of guys that I feel strongly about. Our team feels strongly about the guys we have. We are not going to make any excuses.”

On why the Browns were not successful on third and fourth downs:

“Name it. I did not do a good job there. We did not get people open. I need to figure out a way to get some easy ones for the Q. We just did not have people open.”

On if he felt good about the gameplan coming in and if the Steelers took away those plays:

“Yes, I think that is fair. We will have to figure it out next time. Bottom line is the plan was not good and the execution was not good. It is one of those deals when you get back, you learn from it and you move on.”

On if he thought it would be tough to run bootlegs and outside-the-pocket passing plays entering the game:

“Every game, we look at how they play and what run concepts and what pass concepts will be good versus them. They played pretty wide on the edges, and they are pretty aggressive. I felt like we had a plan to try to move the ball in the run and the pass.”

On if Beckham, Mayfield and WR Jarvis Landry missing practice time this week disrupted the offense’s rhythm:

“I would not go there. We are not in the business of excuses. I just did not get it done today, and we have a big one next week.”

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QB Baker Mayfield:

On his performance and if his ribs injury played a factor: 

“Obviously, not good enough. I have to see (Steelers S) Minkah (Fitzpatrick) coming down in the robber coverage and helping out. I have to take care of the ball. Just did not get enough on the second interception. (WR Rashard) Higgins was open on the sidelines. I just did not get enough of it. It has to be one of those where it is him or nobody. Not good enough.”

On where the Browns stand compared to the Ravens and Steelers, given the two losses by large margins: 

“We just got outplayed today. That is what happens when you do not execute. Great teams, like I said after the Ravens game, great teams capitalize on your mistakes, and they did. That is why the difference is that drastic.”

On how the injury affected him during the game:

“It did not.”

On if there was a discussion about not playing in the second half after taking a big hit to end the first half:

“I got off the ground and was ready to go. I will be alright. There was no discussion. I was ready to go.”

On not having as much protection as recent games:

“I think I have to do a better job of getting the ball out and protecting those guys. When you play a team like that, we knew that their strength was in their pass rush. We knew that. It was very apparent in watching the film. I have to do a better job of getting the ball out quicker, and we just have to execute better.”

On his performance this week after saying last week’s performance was the worst of his season:

“I do not know about the rankings and whatnot, but it obviously wasn’t good enough to win. I have to take care of the ball. Like I said, the first one, the pick-six, just have to see that coverage. I have to see Minkah. He is trying to be around the ball. They want to get him around the ball and involved, especially on third downs. Have to take care of the ball. The other one, just have to put it to where only Higgy can get it, and if not him, then it is out of bounds. A couple of basic things that I will be looking back on and need to fix it.”

On what the team did to come back after the Week 1 loss to the Ravens and how that can apply now to come back after today’s loss: 

“You do not want to let it landslide. You do not want to let one [loss] turn into two. We have to learn from these mistakes, learn from this and move forward. We have another division opponent on the road next week so we need to watch this film, learn and grown from it and move forward.”

On if he wanted to stay in the game when Head Coach Kevin Stefanski took him out: 

“Of course, I did. That is the nature of being a competitor. That is just who I am so yeah, but I do not make that call.”

On if he understood Stefanski’s reasoning for taking him out: 

“Yeah. I am focused on the here and now, and I am thinking in the moment that I want to get out there and have some success. In his words, he has a big picture mindset so just have to roll with the punches.”

On if the Steelers losing LB Devin Bush to injury was a noticeable loss for their defense or if Steelers LB Robert Spillane did a good job filling the role: 

“I am not sure the severity of the injury, but Devin is a great player. He made a lot of plays for them. That is a tough loss, but they did a good job with their other players stepping up and filling that role.”

On how he will manage getting the practice time needed while healing from his injury: 

“Do the same thing I did last week – bust my ass through rehab and get physically ready to play.”

On WR Odell Beckham Jr. showing frustration on the sideline: 

“We are all very frustrated. We want to win. We do not come out here just to get stats and do all that. We come out here to win. It is a frustrating loss for us knowing that we just did not play well and let a great team capitalize on all those mistakes that we made. We are all frustrated.”

On what makes the Steelers run defense so tough: 

“They just fly to the ball. They play good team defense…”

On how discouraging it is that both losses came to division rivals and that they were not close games: 

“Not discouraging. No matter the score, it only counts for one. The good thing is we play both those teams again and we can learn and get better. It is onto the Bengals now and we have to continue to get better.”

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WR Jarvis Landry:

On frustrations following today’s loss to the Steelers despite several offensive players battling injuries this week:

“There is no excuse. I think we all still prepared well. We stayed extra on Friday and Saturday to make sure that the things that we missed we were up to par on. I would not say there were a lot of MEs (mental errors). It goes back to the two things that lost us the first game – penalties and turnovers – and we had a lot of those.”

On if the two losses to the Ravens and Steelers show there is a significant gap between those two teams and the Browns:

“I do not think that is a great indication. We play those guys again. They will have to play damn near the same type of game they played the first time to beat us. We have to do better. Both games we turned over the ball and both games we had penalties. When you do that against good football teams, you lose the game. Regardless of any team we play, it could have happened against the Colts or it could have happened against Dallas. We did not turn the ball over those games. We did not have any self-inflicting things. A lot of times when you don’t do that, you have a good chance of winning the game. We did that from the first drive and pretty much throughout the entire game today. That gets you beat against anybody.”

On what he said to Mayfield after a tough loss:

“I told him to keep his head up. Obviously, we are going to ride with him regardless. He is one of the toughest guys in the building. What he is dealing with, nobody is dealing with, and at the position that he is playing on the side it is, he had a tough week. He came out here and did the best that he could. It was not all on him. We did not make plays in the backend regardless. For us, just continue to keep our heads up, tell him to keep his head up and stay positive.”

On WR Odell Beckham Jr. showing frustration on the sideline:

“We are all invested. I think the thing for us is that we have to figure out a way as a team and as a group… He brought us together as a leader of this team there right before halftime and after halftime and just kind of talking and positive messaging. He was trying to get us going because we could not get in any type of rhythm. If that is all you guys saw, then that is why I am sure I got the question.”

On if Beckham was trying to rally the team together:


On struggling to establish the run today and in protection:

“It was tough. It is a part of who we are. They have a bunch of big talented guys on their side, as well. They made more plays than we did. They rushed the passer. They knocked us back. On plays where we are running gaining five to six yards, we were only getting two today. That is something we must figure out, find ways to get better and adapt. We need to find ways to make those runs go and open up the passing game.”

On how to bounce back after today’s loss, particularly after winning four games following the last loss:

“We will need to continue to adjust. In a season like this, you have to find ways to adjust. A lot of times, what is working you continue with it until it is not working. Then you find ways to make it better or adjust. That is just the phase we are in right now. We all have to go back, look at the film, be critical of ourselves and take this on the chin and move onto the next one. It is still a long season. There are still a lot of games left.”

On if Mayfield being pulled from today’s game could impact confidence:

“I think he is a guy that is never going to lack confidence. The decision made was made by the coaches and not him. If there was a decision to be made, he still would play until the final whistle. He is a guy that is one of the hardest workers on the team and one of the guys that is going to play to the end, win lose or draw. I think he will be just fine. We are always talking, always communicating and lifting each other’s spirits after a loss.”

On how he felt physically during the week and today:

“Good. I was good. Just have to be better.”

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G Joel Bitonio:

On QB Baker Mayfield leaving the game and how tough the day was for the Browns OL:

“It was tough. You never want to see your quarterback leave the game early, unless you are up by a bunch of points. They beat us up front today. They beat us good. They had a couple of good hits on him. We wanted to try and protect him and take them out, but it is a difficult task. They have good guys up front. We just have to look at the tape and improve from it.”

On if he could tell that Mayfield was really hurting, especially after the hit from Steelers DT Cameron Heyward:

“He was a little bit beat up, but when he came in the huddle, he was fine. We have a long season. This counts as one. IT is not the way we wanted to play, but I know he is a tough guy. He wanted to do what he could do. We just did not give him enough time.”

On where the game got away from the Browns:

“We scored right before the half. We were hoping to get the ball, come out and get a drive and get within 10. You can score enough points in this league to come back from being down by that. In the third quarter, we had like eight plays or something. We had two drives, and we didn’t do enough on offense. That is going to hurt. Giving another team points on a pick-six is just something you can’t do in this league. We didn’t do enough on offense. You get down by a bunch to a team like this, they are going to send the guys at the quarterback, and that is not the situation you want to be in.”

On if the game was ‘pretty civilized,’ particularly given last year’s incident:

“It was a normal game. I didn’t think anybody said anything or did anything about that. It was a normal NFL game.”

On what happened today for the Browns OL:

“From play to play, there was a guy that got beat. It wasn’t one guy every play. It was just play to play a guy got beat or someone missed their gap, and that is how you lose to a fundamentally sound team like Pittsburgh. They have a guy in every gap, and if you don’t win, they are going to make a play. I can’t pinpoint exactly what happened, but I think once every play, someone was messing up. We didn’t play well enough today.”

On how challenging it is to play a fundamentally sounds and talented team like the Steelers:

“There is no weakness. Up front, they don’t have a guy that you can kind of spotlight and be like ‘Hey, this is the guy we can go after.’ They have five good rushers and two good linebackers that play well for them. They have good blitz packages. They won their one on ones today when they had an opportunity.”

On whether the Browns can take from the experience of losing to Baltimore in Week 1 and then going on to win four in a row and apply it to now:

“That is the goal. It is one game. We lost. It is a division game. It was tough. We wanted to come out here and put on a good performance, and we did not, but we are going to try and grow from this. Obviously, we are going to look at the film hard, point the finger at ourselves and see what we can do. The great thing about the NFL is that you play next Sunday, and you have a chance to get right. Winning cures all. That is kind of the goal for us is to take it one week at a time. This counts as one loss, we will move forward and we don’t want to make it turn into two.”

On Head Coach Kevin Stefanski taking accountability for Mayfield getting hit and for the loss:

“He is the leader of our team, and that is what good leaders do. That is what he is going to say, but like you said, we have to perform better as players. Whatever play is called, we have to try and perform, as well. It is good that we have a leader of our team where we are all pulling in the same direction and we want to improve from this.

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DE Myles Garrett:

On how frustrating is today’s loss:

“They are a good team. We saw that. They were able to move the ball on us through the air and on the ground. They really had the pick of what they wanted. They just outplayed us on defense and offense. They just had our number today.”

On his conversation with Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin before the game and if they ‘cleared the air’ from last year:

“Talking to him had nothing to do with last year. Him, his brother, my mother and my uncle all went to school together in Virginia so we were just talking about that. I made a little joke about some phone games they had been playing, and that was it. He said, ‘Good luck, live your life, have fun and tell your mother I said hello.’

On whether or not the Steelers were harassing him on the field or trying to bait him into penalties:

“They did not do anything uncharacteristic of them. They were scheming to try and get me off my game. They were getting after all of us. They were chipping, and the guard was staying in and staying close. They were making it difficult for us on defense.”

On the Steelers seeming to run most of their plays away from his direction and if that is typical of the Steelers:

“I feel like they do. I feel like they have a tendency to do that. That is just a part of the gameplan. You don’t want to run at your best player. If you feel like you have that matchup and you can take it, then sure, but they were trying to run it the other way and they felt like they had a better chance of success over there. They were moving the ball wherever they wanted. They were able to do whatever they wanted.”

On how frustrating today’s game was for him personally:

“It is always frustrating after a loss, no matter who it is. They got [ahead in the game] and never let go. We better have their number next time.”

On whether today’s loss is an indicator of where the Browns are in the division, given the team’s loss to the Ravens earlier this year:

“It is one game. We will see them again and then you will be able to measure how we stack up against either of them. Until then, just leave it as it is. They had our number. We have a gameplan, we adjust, come back and we will be at full strength by then.”

On if today’s game did anything to take another step toward helping him move past what occurred last season:

“It is just a game to me. It is just about playing ball. With these guys, it was all love and it is all football. It just stays on the field and stays between the whistle. We did not have any problems. There was respect during and after the game…”

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LB B.J. Goodson:

On the frustration following the tough loss:

“Everything is about how you respond to things. What happened, happened. We will get better. We will learn from it. We will come back, and they have to see us again.”

On if the team has a big gap between the Ravens and Steelers after getting beat by a wide margin by both:

“Here we are only worried about us. Obviously, we are in the same division so everything matters, but as far as just getting better and bettering ourselves every day, we just have to get back to the drawing board, look in the mirror as ourselves as players and as far as everybody and just come back and just be better next week. We can’t get hung up on today because the great teams don’t do that. We have to get back to work and get better.”

On if there was a lot more trash talking or physical play during today’s rivalry game:

“Just another ball game. A hard fought game. Another ball game.”

On if he could sense that DE Myles Garrett was getting frustrated as the Steelers typically ran plays away from his direction:

“When I am out there, my job is to direct 10 guys so being able to pay attention to a detail like that at the time, no.”

On how comfortable the Browns defense was with this week’s gameplan:

“We were very confident in the gameplan coming into today. We just have to execute better and do a better job on our end.”

On why was the Steelers running game was able to have success today:

“We have to get back to the drawing board, watch the tape and go over it. Certain things were obvious. We obviously saw certain things on the sideline, but we just have to get back to the drawing board, get better, learn from it and get better.”

On how disappointing was it to not have success against the run after doing well in previous weeks:

“It is not just a game, but it is a game, and it was a hard fought game. We did not come out with the victory today, but it is a long season. Like I said, we get a chance to play these guys again, and I am looking forward to it.”

On how confident he is that the Browns know how to respond the right way following the loss:

“Very confident. Look at what we did bouncing back from the Baltimore game. I have all the confidence in the world in all of the guys. I am ready to get back to work.”

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