Breaking down Baker Mayfield’s bad day in Pittsburgh

Jeff Risdon
·2 min read

One of the more encouraging developments from the Cleveland Browns’ 4-game win streak they carried into Week 6 was Baker Mayfield’s ability to avoid the bad play. Mayfield made some mistakes along the way, but the third-year QB was generally making the proper reads and distributing the ball with capable aplomb.

That did not happen in Pittsburgh. Mayfield was a mess in the 38-7 loss to the unbeaten Steelers.

From Mayfield’s very first throw of the game, it was evident the Browns were in trouble. This is simply a missed read. With the Steelers in a 2-high safety look, Mayfield has to understand that Fitzpatrick will be able to jump into this route. Mayfield never looks it off, never sees a too-easy read for an aggressive defensive back.

It did not get better. In fact, his next interception might even be worse for the motley stew of errors Mayfield commits in throwing it.

This one is a combination of a frantically bad decision and poor mechanics. It’s great that Mayfield buys time here, but he’s trying to do too much. Granted it’s third down, but there are better options than the off-balance throw into heavy coverage that Mayfield lobs here.

What is more troubling is his throwing form. This is the Bad Baker from 2019, the guy falling away from his throws and drifting without purpose. This Bad Baker had largely gone away through the first five games. Sadly, he reared his ugly head several times in this game.

Pittsburgh’s pressure certainly had a lot to do with that. This was the worst the Browns offensive line has played all year, and the Steelers defense is designed to create chaos for quarterbacks. But while tipping your hat to the foe, these types of mistakes still cannot happen.

Mayfield left the game out of protection for his bruised ribs. He took several big shots from the Pittsburgh defense. His receivers also did not play particularly well. That’s not an excuse for his poor play, but it is necessary context for Mayfield’s miserable performance.

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