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The Cleveland Browns eked out a win on Sunday. But it wasn't pretty.
They failed to score after halftime and fended off a second-half Detroit rally at home for a 13-10 win that avoided handing the now 0-9-1 Lions their first win. After the game, Baker Mayfield — who struggled — declined to speak with media.
The Browns quarterback completed 15 of 29 pass attempts for 176 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. It was the second straight dud game for Mayfield, who left last week's 45-7 loss to the New England Patriots early after throwing for 73 yards and suffering an apparent knee injury that limited him in practice last week.
Mayfield's struggles continue to amplify
The loss to the Patriots raised the volume on questions among media and fans over Mayfield's value as an NFL quarterback, as the Browns approach a significant offseason decision on whether to extend his rookie contract. A 6-5 start with ho-hum quarterback play in a season that started with Super Bowl hopes has some thinking he's not worth the price an extension will demand.
Sunday's performance won't tamp down those questions. Especially with scapegoat Odell Beckham Jr. jettisoned and the roster built to win now.
If the playoffs started Sunday, the 6-5 Browns would not be invited. Seven games remain on their schedule — plenty of time to right the ship and secure consecutive playoff berths for the first time since 1988. But Mayfield's not inspiring much confidence in an offense that depended on 130 yards from running back Nick Chubb on Sunday to outscore the hapless Lions.
While it's protocol for NFL quarterbacks to speak with media postgame win or lose, it's understandable why Mayfield felt like sitting Sunday's postgame Q&A session out.
Mayfield's wife shares post questioning teammates' toughness
Meanwhile, Mayfield's wife Emily shared an Instagram post from a fan that applauded him for his toughness while questioning that of his Browns teammates.
It was one many that she shared from Browns fans on her Instagram story, and it was gone from her timeline later Sunday.
— Brad Stainbrook (@BrownsByBrad) November 21, 2021
"No one better say anything bad about @bakermayfield after this game," the post reads. "I don’t think I have seen toughness like this in a while. Maybe the rest of our team should take the hint and get tougher."
It's reasonable to conclude that she simply shared the post as a message of support for her husband. Even if so, the mention of his teammates will surely make its way to the Browns locker room. Especially considering the waves Odell Beckham Jr's dad made with social media prior to his release from the Browns.