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News, Scores, Teams, Stories & More on Northeast OH Sports on cleveland.com

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    The Cleveland Browns special teams rank dead last in two different analytics sites. Browns fans know why, and that has to change.

    OAKLAND -- Scribbles in my Browns notebook as they prepare to play the Oakland Raiders:

    1. Special teams. Feel free to moan at the mention of those words. After three games, the analytics site Profootballfocus rates the Browns special teams as the worst in the NFL. So does Football Outsiders. That probably matches the opinion of most Browns fans.

    2. The Browns have had field goals blocked. A punt blocked. They've missed two extra points and two field goals. That's six major mistakes in three games. Punt return coverage has been a bit iffy. Penalties have been a problem when the Browns return punts and kicks. Special teams have been flagged six times this season.

    3. I'm dwelling on special teams because I expect a close game in Oakland. And special teams can win or lose games. A Phil Dawson-type kicker in his prime and the Browns are probably 3-0 right now, not 1-1-1. This can be a real challenge because Oakland is the only NFL team that plays in a baseball stadium. And the dirt infield is part of the football field.

    4. I doubt Greg Joseph has ever kicked off a dirt surface. Joseph was imported before the Browns 21-17 victory over the Jets. To his credit, he kicked field goals of 45 and 27 yards. The 45-yarder was a rather ugly line drive, but it still counted as a pretty three points. He also made both extra point attempts. "The bottom line is the kid put them between the goal posts," said special teams coach Amos Jones, looking for any reason to discuss something positive.

    5. So Joseph survived to kick at least one more week for the Browns. The Browns had him in for a tryout near the end of training camp. They decided to keep Zane Gonzalez. After Gonzalez had a miserable game in New Orleans, they brought in Joseph with a few other veteran kickers for a tryout -- and he won the job.

    6. I asked Hue Jackson about his kicker, and the coach said, "I loved him last week. I want to love him again this week...It's week to week, I don't know him very well. " Joseph can do quite a bit to gain confidence of the coaches in this week. A lousy game could mean more kickers bought in Tuesday for tryouts.

    7. The Browns are not getting much from their punt returns. Jabrill Peppers has returned five of them for a modest 5.0 average. The Browns even had Jarvis Landry handling two punts near the end of the Jets game. The star receiver also averaged 5.0 on his two returns. The good news is they aren't fumbling away punts. But that's about it.

    8. This is a big game for the Browns. Not huge, like the Thursday victory over the Jets. The Browns went into that game not having won in 19 games. They were at home and favored. And they were facing a rookie quarterback in Sam Darnold. If ever there was a sense the Browns would win...that was the game.

    9. But if the Browns can beat Oakland, that's two in row. The team would have a 2-1-1 record at the quarter pole of the 16-game NFL season. Anyone would have signed up for that at the start of the year.

    10. That's also why I worry about the special teams. Even mediocre special teams would be an asset to this team. There is pressure on new special teams coach Amos Jones to show some improvement. He came from Arizona, where his special teams often were in the bottom 25 percent of the NFL.

    11. Browns General Manager John Dorsey believes in breaking the season into 4-game parts. After each four games, do a hard evaluation of the talent, the strategy, etc. I expected a slow start from the Browns not simply because they were 4-44 in the previous three seasons. But they also changed so many key spots on the roster. That's why I've been very encouraged by the first three games.

    12. We'll see what happens in Oakland, but I expect another strong defensive performance from the Browns. Gregg Williams has his guys playing fast and aggressive. As I wrote about in my Terry's Talkin' Browns, Dorsey and the front office paid a lot of attention to what Williams wanted -- better defensive backs.

    13. Williams raves about Joe Schobert, a fourth-round pick in 2016. The Wisconsin product was an outside linebacker in Ray Horton's 3-4 scheme. He seemed slow and ineffective. When Williams took over the defense in 2017, Schobert moved to middle linebacker. He made the Pro Bowl last season and is headed there again. He has recovered two fumbles, picked off a pass and played every single defensive snap this season.

    14. Williams on Schobert: "He is as smart or smarter than anybody I've ever coached at that position. He has the respect of all his teammates. His teammates go to him to ask questions instead of their position coaches because of the trust he's built up."

    15. Williams also discussed how Larry Ogunjobi was moved to nose tackle, playing right over the center. That's because he's so quick and strong, he shoves the center into the backfield: "He is a very powerful, powerful young man...He is owning that position, doing it the right way and right now."

    16. Ogunjobi is a third-round pick from 2017, and he has three sacks. There were flaws and mistakes in the Sashi Brown analytics approach, but piling up draft picks allowed the Browns to hit on mid-rounders such as Schobert and Ogunjobi.

    17. Dorsey appears to have done the same with fifth-rounder Genard Avery, who has a chance to become an elite pass rusher. This is how a team starts to assemble an impact defense. First-rounders (Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward) play well. Then middle-round picks begin to produce. I also think 2017 first-rounder Jabrill Peppers has been more effective since moving to strong safety.

    18. Most Browns fans know David Njoku is a physically gifted tight end. In the first three games, he has caught nine passes for a humble 7.7 average. He has two drops.

    19. When I asked Jackson about the production of receivers after Jarvis Landry, he went into a discussion of the need to get more out of Duke Johnson and Njoku. He said Njoku "needs to start making plays."

    20. Jackson praised Rashard Higgins: "He does all the tough work for us and has done a good job." Higgins is one of my favorite Browns receivers. He has good hands. He can thrive with Baker Mayfield, who completed three passes to him in the Jets game.

    PREDICTION: Browns 27, Oakland 20. I'm riding the hot team!



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    Victor had two catches, including a crucial 47-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter of Ohio State's win over Penn State. Watch video

    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Urban Meyer looked up into the sea of white shirts and pompoms and thought the same thing he thought here in 2014 when Ohio State was trailing Penn State in the second half of a Beaver Stadium White Out.

    "I thought it was over," Meyer said.

    Dwayne Haskins looked toward to the sideline at offensive coordinator Ryan Day for a new play, because he knew this one could end poorly. Haskins had a pre-snap check if the Nittany Lions were bringing pressure from a certain area, but there was confusion, and Ohio State never changed the play.

    "I saw it coming and didn't know what to do," Haskins said.

    So it was akward. His drop-back, his move forward to evade the rush, his off-balance throw and the catch Ben Victor made to wrestle an off-target ball away from Penn State cornerback Armani Oruwariye.

    The rest was smooth.

    Some good open field work from Victor. Blocks from Parris Campbell, Rashod Berry and Johnnie Dixon to clear the way. The biggest play Victor has ever made, and one that drastically altered the state of things in Happy Valley with just under seven minutes to play.

    "I'm telling you, Ben Victor changed that whole deal," Meyer said. "He changed the whole dynamic of that game. This stadium felt it too. He went in and you're looking at a one-score game."

    Victor had five catches this season coming into the game, and now has 34 for his career. Hardly prolific numbers for a player who game to Ohio State as a blue-chip recruit, built like someone who looked like he'd be playing in the NFL someday.

    He's often seemed lost in the shuffle at receiver, and at other times has looked inconsistent.

    Sometimes, though, it takes just one moment for a player to flash his potential and then alter the course of his career. Perhaps that happened for Victor on Saturday when he cut Penn State's lead to six in what was eventually a one-point Ohio State win.

    "It gave us a big jolt," Victor said. "We were down. We needed a play. All night we talked about someone making a play, and get this riot started. That's what I had to do."

    We'll see if that's a turnaround moment for Victor.

    At the very least it's a play that will be remembered for awhile, a strong individual effort when OSU desperately needed one, supplemented by a receiving group that's shown a real knack for making plays when needed this year.

    It's just that before Saturday night, Victor is not someone you'd automatically lump in with the small group of players you'd be comfortable going to in a key moment.

    After the game his teammates said that's what they've seen the last few weeks in practice. That it was a matter of time before it came out in a game.

    "Ben does it all the time in practice," Haskins said. "He's a freaky athlete. Every Sunday in practice we work on two-minute drill, situations like that. He makes those catches every day. It was time for him to do it in the game, and he did."

    "It gave us the boost that we needed," defensive tackle Dre'Mont Jones said. "We were down by two touchdowns and he scored, made a houdini play, I don't know how he did it. Broke free and scored. That kinda got everybody going."

    It was a bit of surreal moment that quieted the 110,000-plus in the building while appearing to happen in slow motion.

    Ohio State eventually took the lead when another receiver, K.J. Hill, turned a bubble screen into a 24-yard touchdown. Then the defense slammed the door on Penn State as the Buckeyes left Beaver Stadium with a win that looked improbable with just a few minutes left to play.

    Thank Victor for setting the stage.

    "It's very humbling," Victor said. "I've had to be a team player, make blocks and help my teammates make plays. But when I got a chance -- you only get a couple -- and you just gotta make a play. I love my team, and you gotta keep pushing."


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    Young had six tackles, two sacks and two pass breakups in Ohio State's win over Penn State.

    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Ohio State defensive end Chase Young stood in bewilderment near the 50-yard line. His hand was clutching the inside of of his shoulder pads as a not-so-subtle appeal to the officials to say that he had not grabbed the facemask of Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley.

    They agreed.

    Instead of being flagged for a penalty that would've given the Nittany Lions free yards on a potential game-winning drive, Young laid the first brick in what was a final stand by Ohio State's defense in a 27-26 win.

    Young laid the final brick too, shutting down an uninspired handoff to Miles Sanders for a two-yard loss on fourth-and-5 to effectively end the game.

    "He was outstanding," Urban Meyer said after the game.

    It was the best game of Young's career. He had six tackles, three for loss, two sacks and two pass breakups. He was all over the field, unblockable to Penn State's offensive tackles and bothersome to McSorley.

    In another one-point Ohio State win over Penn State, the Buckeyes defensive line again took things over late.

    This time it was Young, the former five-star prospect now in year two of what's always felt like a three-year plan, leading the way.

    The world caught on to Young on Saturday night.

    Consumed with how Ohio State would fare without Nick Bosa, its best player and perhaps the best defensive player in the country, most knew the names on the OSU defensive line, but not the potential. Young reminded them.

    McSorley proved slippery against the Buckeyes, rushing for more yards than a Penn State quarterback has rushed for since The Great Depression. So, no, the defensive line wasn't perfect and neither was Ohio State's defense. But there's something to be said for making plays in crunch time, and Young certainly did that in helping Ohio State eek out a win.

    Other than setting Penn State back with his sack on the last drive, then icing the game with his stop of Sanders, Young's biggest play came late in the third quarter.

    Penn State was up one, facing fourth-and-1 from the Ohio State 24 when it elected to go for it rather than kick what would have been a 41-yard field goal. McSorley faked a hand-off, then looked like he was going to run himself before trying to float a ball to a tight end in the flat.

    Young, good to not over commit to any of the action in the backfield, jumped and batted McSorley's pass out of the air to end the possession and leave Penn State to think what might have been had it either converted there or opted to try for the three points instead.

    "I was proud of Chase," defensive tackle Dre'Mont Jones said. "Happy for him. Hopefully he can continue this."

    Young didn't speak after the game.

    Perhaps he'd rather let his play speak for him.

    What it said on Saturday is that, yes, Ohio State would be much better off with Nick Bosa. The hope is that they'll get him back at some point after November. But in the meantime, there's a lot of talent on the OSU defensive line.

    And Young -- who's now tied for the team lead in sacks with Bosa at four -- may be ready to step into the spotlight.


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    Here's how to watch the Browns vs. Raiders on Sunday.

    OAKLAND -- The Browns seek their second win in a row on Sunday in Oakland. They are playing the Raiders, who are looking for their first win of the season. Here's how to watch, listen and stream it online.

    Time: 4:05 p.m. EST

    Location: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Okland.

    TV: FOX

    * Play-by-play: Kenny Albert; Analyst: Ronde Barber; Sideline: Megan Olivi.

    Radio: 92.3 The Fan (WKRK), ESPN 850 WKNR and WNCX (98.5).

    * Play-by-play: Jim Donovan; Analyst: Doug Dieken; Sideline: Dustin Fox.

    Spanish Radio: La Mega 87.7 FM

    * Play-by-play: Rafael "Rafa" Hernandez-Brito; Analyst: Raul Striker Jr.

    Streaming: fuboTV (free trial)

    FuboTV is a paid affiliate of Advance Local Media LLC. Advance Local Media LLC may receive compensation if you access the FuboTV service through the link above.


    Get the best Browns news and perspective in your inbox at lunch time every weekday. Sign up for our Browns newsletter.


    Go inside the Browns every week with cleveland.com's Orange and Brown Podcast, featuring Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe. Listen and subscribe here.


    Want more Browns? Subscribe to our Browns YouTube channel for interviews, analysis and more.


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    The Americans have not won a Ryder Cup match in Europe since 1993.

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France -- Payback belongs to Europe, and so does the Ryder Cup.

    Two years after the Americans thought they had their Ryder Cup problems figured out, Europe reminded them Sunday why it practically has owned this shiny gold trophy for the last quarter-century.

    British Open champion Francesco Molinari was just as good on his own as he was with Tommy Fleetwood. The best year of the Italian's golfing life got even better at Le Golf National when he became the first European -- and only second player since the current format began in 1979 -- to win all five of his matches.

    The last one set off a wild, champagne-soaked celebration.

    Europe already was assured the 14 1/2 points it needed because they were guaranteed halves in two matches. Molinari made it official. He was 2 up and safely on the green at the par-3 16th green when Phil Mickelson hit into the water, removed his cap and conceded the match.

    Mickelson was desperate to make this team because the 48-year-old saw it as his last chance to win a Ryder Cup on European soil. He wound up losing both his matches. He started the week by setting a record with his 12th Ryder Cup appearance. He ended it by setting a more dubious Ryder Cup record with 22 losses.

    He wasn't alone. Tiger Woods went 0-4, the first time in his eight Ryder Cups that he failed to contribute a single point.

    But this was more about the Europeans as a team, and they were tougher than ever on a course they know well.

    "This team has been incredible from the start," Molinari said. "We were determined to do the job. Nothing was going to stop us. And you saw it on the course."

    Trailing 10-6 going into the final day of singles, the Americans needed to put red points on the board early to build momentum. It never happened. Justin Thomas won the leadoff match over Rory McIlroy, but not until the 18th hole.

    Webb Simpson and Tony Finau, the lone bright spot among the wild-card picks for U.S. captain Jim Furyk, won easily.

    But that was it.

    Rahm won the first hole against Woods and never trailed. He dropped his putter after making a 5-foot birdie on the 17th hole as Woods stood to the side of the green, arms crossed. One week ago, he overcame four back surgeries to win for the 80th time on the Tour Championship, a signal that he was all the way back.

    And then at the Ryder Cup, it was another result with which he is far too familiar. Woods has played on only one winning team in 1999.

    "It's disappointing because I went 0-4, and that's four points to the European team," he said. "And I'm one of the contributing factors to why we lost the cup, and it's not a lot of fun. It's frustrating because I thought we were all playing pretty well, and I just didn't perform at the level that I had been playing, and just got behind early in the matches and never got back."

    Thorbjorn Olesen, who had played only one match the previous two days, went 5 up at the turn over Jordan Spieth and won in 14 holes. Spieth is now 0-6 in singles matches in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup.

    Sergio Garcia was in tears.

    He played so poorly this year that he failed to qualify for the PGA Tour's postseason. Thomas Bjorn picked him anyway, saying he was the like the captain of a football team. Garcia showed why by going 3-1. That final victory over Rickie Fowler made Garcia the biggest contributor in Ryder Cup history with 25 1/2 points.

    All that was left to determine was the final score with one match still on the course.

    By then, it was settled where dominance lies in these biennial matches. Europe now has won nine of the last 12 times.

    Day 2:

    Day 1:

    By Doug Ferguson, AP Golf Writer


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    Doug and Bill break down Ohio State's 27-26 win over Penn State in a postgame edition of our Buckeye Talk Podcast.

    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- We're breaking down Ohio State's 27-26 win over Penn State, and answering your questions about the Buckeyes in a postgame episode of our Buckeye Talk Podcast.

    You can always submit questions via Twitter to the @BuckeyeTalkPod account. You can also now submit questions, comments and complaints via email to BuckeyeTalkPod@gmail.com.

    Before listening to the podcast below, make sure to subscribe to Buckeye Talk at any of these places:

    Buckeye Talk on iTunes

    Buckeye Talk on Google Play

    Buckeye Talk on Stitcher

    Buckeye Talk on Spotify

    Thank as always to ShopOhioState.com and MinuteManTickets.com for supporting Buckeye Talk.


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    The Indians and Royals close the book on the 2018 regular season on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.

    KANSAS CITY -- Here are the lineups for Sunday's game between the Indians and Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Game time is at 2:15 p.m.

    INDIANS

    SS Francisco Lindor.

    LF Michael Brantley.

    2B Jose Ramirez.

    DH Edwin Encarnacion.

    3B Josh Donaldson.

    1B Yandy Diaz.

    RF Melky Cabrera.

    CF Jason Kipnis.

    C Eric Haase.

    RHP Carlos Carrasco, 16-10, 3.42.

    ROYALS

    2B Whit Merrifield.

    SS Adalberto Mondesil.

    DH Salvador Perez.

    1B Ryan O'Hearn.

    RF Rosell Herrera.

    CF Brian Goodwin.

    3B Alcides Escobar.

    LF Brett Phillips.

    C Melbrys Viloria.

    LHP Eric Skoglund, 1-5, 5.40.

    UMPIRES

    H Bruce Dreckman.

    1B Chad Fairchild.

    2B Kerwin Danley, crew chief.

    3B Mike Estabrook.


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    The Buckeyes received one first-place vote following Saturday's win over Penn State.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State football moved up to No. 3 in this week's Associated Press top-25 poll, climbing one spot and receiving its first first-place vote of the season following Saturday's 27-26 win at Penn State.

    How cleveland.com's Bill Landis voted this week

    The Nittany Lions fell from No. 9 to No. 11 after the one-point loss.

    Alabama remained No. 1, receiving 58 first-place votes. No. 4 Clemson also received a first-place vote. The top-five this week are Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Clemson and LSU.

    The Buckeyes also moved up to No. 3 in this week's coaches poll, and received one first-place vote.

    The full AP top-25 for this week is below:

    1. Alabama (58 first-place votes)

    2. Georgia

    3. Ohio State (1)

    4. Clemson (1)

    5. LSU

    6. Notre Dame

    7. Oklahoma

    8. Auburn

    9. West Virginia

    10. Washington

    11. Penn State

    12. UCF

    13. Kentucky

    14. Stanford

    15. Michigan

    16. Wisconsin

    17. Miami (Fla.)

    18. Oregon

    19. Texas

    20. Michigan State

    21. Colorado

    22. Florida

    23. North Carolina State

    24. Virginia Tech

    25. Oklahoma State


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    Stanton will back up Mayfield, as expected and Damarious Randall is active with his heel injury.

    Oakland, Ca.  -- Drew Stanton will back up Baker Mayfield vs. the Raiders today as expected, and free safety Damarious Randall is active despite a heel injury that had him listed as questionable.

    Tyrod Taylor made the trip, but is inactive with his back injury and recovery from a concussion.

    Stanton, who was inactive the first two games, will not only be helping Mayfield on the sidelines in his first NFL start, he'll also be ready to step in for him if he gets injured.

    "(Stanton's) been tremendous,'' said offensive coordinator Todd Haley. "He's a unique, unique quarterback. He has insight that I haven't seen from very many guys. ...He has a unique feel for how to deal with Tyrod and how he deals with the young guys, whether it was (former Browns QB) Brogan (Roback) or it was Baker.

    "It's a great situation for a young, developing guy to be in. That is a big part Drew, big part Tyrod and obviously, (quarterbacks) Coach (Ken) Zampese."

    Stanton (11-6 career record) helped Mayfield prepare mentally and otherwise for his first NFL start today, during which he becomes the 30th QB to start a game for the Browns since 1999. Of his 29 predecessors, only two have been victorious: Jeff Garcia in 2004 and Brian Hoyer in 2013.

    Lincoln Riley on Mayfield: 'He can be as good as he wants to be'

    "Each and every week is different, that's what is hard about this league is you have to be prepared each week for different looks,'' said Stanton. "Coordinators are scheming against you and they are going to find, they'll probably go back and watch college tape of him and find what was successful and how to match up, but we're dealing with the best of the best in this league, so you're not only going to be dealing with the best athletes on the field, but the best defensive coordinators and you have to be prepared for that week in and week out.

    "He has the luxury of getting every rep this week which is invaluable for somebody like him to be able to communicate and to be able to see these looks, go through them in his mind multiple times, it's so much better than getting thrown in the fire." 

    Stanton has been impressed with Mayfield's feel for the game.

    "To be able to go in there and have the success that he did last week with the limited numbers, you can see just the ability he has to go in there and find completions and be able to do stuff,'' said Stanton. "Knowing where your outlets are, knowing when to take chances, knowing a lot of that just comes with the feel of the game."

    Stanton cautioned Mayfield to remain calm.

    "You don't want to be too amped up at this position because you have to be able to see everything. You don't want to miss anything because you're so passionate about what's going on."


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    Nick Chubb got his first NFL touchdown in exciting fashion.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - Rookie running back Nick Chubb helped the Browns overcome an early deficit on Sunday with a 63-yard touchdown run.

    Trailing 7-0 in the second quarter, the Browns took over at their own 30-yard line after the Raiders missed a field goal. Chubb took the handoff from Baker Mayfield and had a huge hole open up in front of him.

    One cut and a missed tackle later, Chubb got to the outside and outran the Raiders to the end zone for his first NFL touchdown.


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    Mayfield threw his first career touchdown pass against the Raiders on Sunday.

    OAKLAND -- Baker Mayfield is on the board. The Browns rookie quarterback and the No. 1 overall pick in last April's draft threw the first touchdown pass of his career on Sunday against the Raiders.

    Mayfield hit tight end Darren Fells for a 49-yard catch and run. The play put the Browns ahead, following a two-point conversion, 17-7.

    Mayfield was making his first career start for the Browns. He came into the Browns' game against the Jets in Week 3 and led the team to a comeback win, but didn't throw a touchdown pass in that game.


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    Oakland is playing like a desperate team after starting the season 0-3. The Browns look like they want to win their first road game since 2015.

    OAKLAND -- Scribbles in my halftime Browns notebook as they play the Raiders in Oakland. Browns had a 17-14 lead.

    1. There is almost no discussion about the Raiders moving to Las Vegas. There are no signs -- at least that I see -- in the stands.

    2. Baker Mayfield made a poor throw to Antonio Callaway in the first quarter. The ball was a little behind him. Oakland's Marcus Gilchrist cut in front of Callaway, who seemed to slip. The ball was deflected, and run back for a 36-yard TD by Oakland defensive back Gareon Conley.

    3. On Mayfield's next possession, he fired a short laser for a 9-yard gain to Jarvis Landry. He plays with terrific confidence. On a fourth-and-6, Mayfield scrambled for the first down. He ran out bounds to avoid contact. Smart play.

    4. The officials had a silly sequence in the first quarter throwing flags on three plays in a row. None were serious violations. Mayfield was barely touched and they called "roughing the passer."

    5. Mayfield did lead the Browns down the field, 68 yards in 15 plays. But they couldn't convert from and 1st-and-1 on the Oakland 1-yard line. They settled for a field goal. The worst play was Mayfield overthrowing a wide open Jarvis Landry in the end zone.

    6. The Browns special teams had a holding call on a punt return. In fact, the hold as nowhere near the ball when Briean Boddy-Calhoun was flagged. That's the seventh penalty on Cleveland special teams this season.

    7. Oakland also is having a nightmare special teams season. Kicker Mike Nugent is hurt. Matt McCrane made his NBA debult and missed a 47-yard field goal attempt.

    8. Nick Chubb took off on an electric 63-yard TD run. The Browns had a 9-3 lead. They decided to go for two points. Mayfield found Callaway open in the end zone...and he dropped it.

    9. Chubb hasn't had a lot of chances, but he's been productive. In the first three games, Chubb rushed for 41 yards in seven carries.

    10. Joe Schobert made an excellent 1-handed sack pf Derek Carr.

    11. Mayfield connected with tight end Darren Fells for 49 yards and the rookie's first NFL TD pass. Mayfield was 8-of-17 passes for 129 yards, one TD and one interception.


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    The Indians ended the regular season with a 91-71 record. They went 49-32 at home and 42-39 on the road. Watch video

    KANSAS CITY -- The endless season is over and the season that can go much faster is about to begin for the Indians.

    Francisco Lindor supplied all the offense on Sunday afternoon, while Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer took care of the pitching as the Indians beat Kansas City, 2-1, at Kauffman Stadium to end the regular season with a 91-71 record.

    They will now begin the final preparation for the best-of-five ALDS against Houston on Friday at Minute Maid Park. Corey Kluber will start Game 1 and Carrasco Game 2.

    The Indians clinched the AL Central On Sept. 15. They've been stuck in baseball limbo since. They've concentrated on resting certain players, getting other players more work and getting still others healthy. That became the focal point instead of winning and losing. That all ended Sunday.

    "We tried to manage some challenges we've had," manager Terry Francona. "I think we need a good week of practice, which I think our guys will do, but I think it's time. I think the guys have felt like it for a while. It's kind of like the end of spring training. Let's go play."

    Lindor created the Tribe's first run as he reached first base on an error by left-hander Erik Skoglund to start the game. He stole second and then stole third. He raced home when third baseman Alcides Escobar couldn't handle catcher Meibrys Viloria's throw and was charged with an error.

    In the third, Lindor used his power to make the lead, 2-0. He hit a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left field for his 38th homer of the season. Lindor ended the season hitting .277 (183-for-661) with 129 runs, 42 doubles, 38 homers, 92 RBI and 25 steals.

    "I'm very excited," said Lindor, when asked about the postseason. "First, it's a blessing. I thank the Lord for keeping us healthy day in and day out, and to be able to finish the year strong.

    "The only one that's a little beat up is Yan Gomes (lacerated right thumb), but it seems like he's going to be OK. So, we're all blessed. We're all blessed and we're excited for the postseason."

    In spring training Lindor set a goal of leading the big leagues in runs. He finished tied for first with Boston's Mookie Betts.

    "It shows that I'm doing whatever it takes to help the team win day in and day out," he said. "And, if I score 129 out of 158 games, that says something. It was very important for me."

    The only other shortstop to hit at least 38 homers and steal 25 bases in a year -- while playing at least 50 percent of his games at short -- was Alex Rodriguez, who hit 42 homers and stole 26 bases in 1998.

    Carrasco (17-10, 3.38) allowed one run one three hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked two. He finished the season with 192 innings pitched and 231 strikeouts. In the last two years, Carrasco is 35-16 for the Indians.

    Bauer, making his third appearance since coming off the disabled list, worked four scoreless innings to protect the 2-1 lead. He retired seven straight before Whit Merrifield singled with one out in the eighth. It extended Merrifield's hitting streak to 20 games and gave him the AL lead in hits with 192.

    Merrifield stole second and went to third on a throwing error by rookie catcher Eric Haase as Adaberto Mondes struck out swinging. Bauer ended the threat by getting Salvador Perez to line out to left field.

    The Royals made things interesting in the ninth. Greg Allen made a sliding catch in center against Ryan O'Hearn for the first out, but Rosell Herrera reached on what was ruled a bad-hop single off Jose Ramirez's chest at second base. Bauer retired the next to batters to earn his first big-league save.

    Bauer, who missed nearly six weeks with a stress fracture in his right leg, ended the season with a 2.21 ERA. His ERA his the second best by a qualifying Indians pitcher since the mound was lowered in 1969. Gaylord Perry posted a 1.92 ERA in 1972 for the Tribe.

    The Royals made it 2-1 against Carrasco in the fifth. Brian Goodwin reached on a leadoff single and stole second. He took third on a ground ball to first before Carrasco complicated matters by walking Brett Phillips and allowing an RBI single to Viloria.

    Carrasco, who entered the game 1-4 in his last five decisions, held the lead as he struck out Merrifield and retired Mondesi on a nice pick and throw by Lindor with the tying run on third.

    What it means

    The Indians, in winning their third straight AL Central division, finished the year at 49-27 in division play. It included a 12-7 record against the Royals.

    The pitches

    Carrasco threw 77 pitches, 49 (64 percent) for strikes. Skoglund threw 85 pitches, 50 (59 percent) for strikes.

    Thanks for coming

    The Indians and Royals drew 19,690 to Kauffman Stadium on Sunday. First pitch was at 3:17 p.m. with a temperature of 72 degrees.

    Next

    Kluber will face the Astros on Friday night at Minute Maid Park in Game 1 of the ALDS.


    0 0

    The Cleveland Browns could have won this game -- more than once. But Oakland broke their hearts.

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- This one hurts.

    That's what I kept thinking while watching the Browns lose, 45-42, in Oakland.

    In overtime.

    I kept thinking, "How many times did it seem the Browns had this game won?'

    One? Two? Three?

    "A few," said Baker Mayfield in a very quiet, mournful voice.

    Forget it.

    Let's not count the ways, because it gets too depressing.

    That's because these Browns are different. They are better. They probably will prove it as the season progresses.

    But right now, the Browns are 1-2-1.

    Each of the losses is by a field goal.

    As rookie Matt McCrane's 29-yard field goal sliced the uprights, the final score screamed: Oakland 45, Browns 42.

    As the game ended, Browns defense end Myles Garrett took off his helmet. Then he sat on it. He held his head.

    He was exhausted. Discouraged. And probably felt more than a little disbelief.

    NO EXCUSES, PLEASE

    The Browns defense was on the field for 90 plays compared to 74 for the Cleveland offense.

    "We can't use that as an excuse," said Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey. "We can't worry about being tired. We (the defense) needed to step up."

    The Browns had leads of 14 and eight points in the second half.

    I thought they were in great shape to win with 4:20 left in regulation. That was after Nick Chubb had roared 42 yards for a touchdown and the Browns led, 42-34.

    The Georgia rookie also had a 63-yard TD ramble early in the game.

    That's why there is reason to be hopeful about the Browns. They have talent. Chubb showed why General Manager John Dorsey picked him in the second round.

    There was some talk of the Browns having a first-down call ruled against them late in the game.

    But as Jarvis Landry said, "We can't blame the refs...there were so many things."

    Landry then mentioned his dropping two passes. I counted at least six dropped passes for the Browns.

    ROOKIES ARE ROOKIES

    This was Baker Mayfield's first start.

    He led the Browns back from a 14-0 deficit to beat the Jets, 21-17, in Week 3. That was 10 days ago, his first game as a pro when he played slightly more than two quarters.

    Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley warned a game like this could be coming for Mayfield.

    "This is the real test," Haley said Thursday. "I know a lot of people are carving the bust for Canton (Hall of Fame) already...He set the bar high. I don't know that every week is going to go like that went."

    This one didn't.

    Mayfield fumbled twice deep in his own territory.

    Once he blamed a "communication" problem. The other time, he had the ball ripped out of his hand as he dropped back to throw.

    Oakland turned both into touchdowns.

    He threw an interception off the hands of rookie receiver Antonio Callaway. Oakland turned that into another touchdown.

    Mayfield had four turnovers total (two fumbles, two interceptions), and they became three TDs for the Raiders.

    Welcome to the NFL.

    THERE IS PROMISE

    The Browns scored 42 points for the first time since 2007.

    Mayfield threw TD passes to Jarvis Landry and Darren Fells.

    Mayfield connected on a 59-yard pass to Antonio Callaway that set up a third Cleveland TD.

    There is something exciting about Mayfield and what he has brought to the offense.

    But there also are the P-words.

    Pain is one. Rookies make rookie mistakes.

    Patience is another.

    The Browns need to groom Mayfield, and that will take time.

    But it could be worth it.

    HOW THEY LOST

    The Browns defense seemed empty and discouraged at the end of the game.

    There were major breakdowns in coverage, especially in the end zone.

    They couldn't put enough pressure on Oakland quarterback Derek Carr. Yes, they picked off two more passes, but it wasn't enough.

    Some of the points are the fault of Mayfield's turnovers. The others are because of defensive breakdowns.

    Special teams also had some shaky moments, especially in the return and coverage aspects.

    But in the end, the Browns are better.

    But they still lost.

    And that's why Browns fans are feeling a little empty right now.


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    The Browns hung on and managed to white knuckle their way to their second win in a row.

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- The steps the Browns are trying to take this year aren't easy. It's a long road back from the last two seasons, and it was never going to be easy.

    Sunday afternoon, the Browns went on the road to Oakland with a chance to take a giant step. Instead, they came away losers, 45-42 in overtime.

    It was a painful reminder that this is still a work in progress for the Browns.

    The Browns came out in the first two-and-a-half quarters and imposed their will on the Raiders. We saw Baker Mayfield throw his first touchdown pass. We saw Nick Chubb score his first rushing touchdown. The Browns led 17-14 at the half and built a 28-14 lead with 7:26 left in the third quarter.

    Then things fell apart. The turnovers came. The drops continued -- the drops were a problem all afternoon. The Browns simply couldn't overcome themselves -- and haven't we seen that before?

    The officiating didn't help, either. The Browns couldn't overcome questionable calls all afternoon. A fumble by Derek Carr was blown dead and Carlos Hyde's apparent first-down run that would have iced the game was ruled short upon review.

    That doesn't excuse the slop, though, of the turnovers and missed assignments in the secondary. It doesn't excuse that throw by Baker Mayfield, who was otherwise impressive in his first start, on the Browns' final offensive possession of regulation.

    This is a league of opportunity and the Browns had a golden one. Coming off of a win against the Jets, they faced a winless Raiders team and had a chance to bury them.

    They should have, too, but they couldn't get out of their own way. This should have been the next significant step -- win your second in a row, come back home to face a divisional opponent in Baltimore at 2-1-1.

    Instead, it was mistake after mistake after mistake. Maybe this is easier to stomach if the Raiders had simply been better. The Browns, though, had the type of opportunity that can set the tone for a season. They couldn't take advantage.

    Playing in the home of "Just Win, Baby," the Browns couldn't.

    This is all still a work in progress.


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    Mayfield couldn't overcome four of his own turnovers in a 45-42 overtime loss to the Raiders in OT.

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- Baker Mayfield almost pulled off a Houdini act in his first NFL start, but it wasn't to be.

    Mayfield committed four turnovers and the Browns lost, 45-42, to the Oakland Raiders in overtime Sunday. The loss dropped the Browns to 1-2-1 and the victory improved the Raiders to 1-3.

    Mayfield completed 21 of 41 attempts for 295 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for a 70.7 rating. A handful of his passes were dropped by Browns receivers throughout the contest.

    He rallied the Browns to a 42-34 lead in the fourth quarter, but was outplayed down the stretch by quarterback Derek Carr, whom the Browns passed on in the 2014 draft.

    Carr tied the game at 42 on a 7-yard TD pass to Jared Cook with 30 seconds left in regulation. Then the Raiders won it 45-42 with 1:46 remaining in OT on a 29-yard field goal by rookie kicker Matt McCrane.

    "Turnovers were the difference, in my opinion," Browns coach Hue Jackson said after the game. "There was a 14-point swing where they scored when we turned it over. . . It bit us in the butt today.

    "We had our chances to win.  . .  We have to find a way to win these kinds of games."

    Jackson was asked if this was just an example of growing pains for his young team.

    "I'm tired of growing pains, he said. " . . . We can do be better. Baker can be better, our offense can be better, defense can be better, kicking game can be better."

    The Browns trailed 34-28 with 10:46 left in regulation.  

    Of Mayfield's four turnovers, three led to Raiders touchdowns. One of those was a first-quarter interception when receiver Antonio Callaway slipped, and former Ohio State Buckeye Gareon Conley intercepted the pass and ran it back 36 yards for a TD.

    Oakland also had two big plays that led to Raiders field goals: a 52-yard Marshawn Lynch run and a 49-yard punt return.

    Mayfield also had a strip-sack and a fumbled snap -- on a miscommunication that led to an early snap by center J.C. Tretter -- that led to Raiders TDs in regulation.

    Mayfield, the 30th quarterback to start for the Browns since 1999, came through with a clutch 59-yard pass to fellow rookie Callaway, who got off to a horrible start, with 8:52 left in the game to the Raiders' 1. Carlos Hyde punched it in from the 1 to put the Browns up 35-34 with 8:07 remaining.

    Browns rookie running back Nick Chubb then scored on his second long run of the game, a 41-yarder to give the Browns a little breathing room at 42-34 with 4:20 left. He had also scored on a 63-yarder in the second quarter.

    But Carr and the Raiders stormed backed and tied the game at 42 on the 7-yard touchdown pass to Cook with 30 seconds left, over Damarious Randall at the left side of the end zone.

    Jordy Nelson then caught the two-point pass over former Raider T.J. Carrie, also at the left side of the end zone, to tie it and send the Black Hole into a frenzy.

    Mayfield had a chance to get the Browns at least in field goal range to win the game in regulation, but his pass for Antonio Callaway was picked off by Reggie Nelson with 4 seconds remaining.

    The Raiders got the ball first in overtime, but Raiders' rookie kicker Matt McCrane's 50-yard field goal attempt with 6:10 left in overtime was short.

    The Browns went three-and-out on their first chance in OT, with Rashaan Melvin breaking up a deep ball down the right side to Duke Johnson.

    The loss extended the Browns' road losing streak to 23 games.

    Lynch gashed for the Browns defense for 130 yards rushing on 20 carries.

    Key reversal

    The Browns thought they had iced the game with 1:38 left in regulation. Carlos Hyde, who had 22 carries for 82 yards, ran up the middle to the Browns' 19-yard line for a first down. However, the call was reversed on video review, which found that the Browns were inches short. They then punted on fourth down from their own 18-yard line, and the Raiders went 53 yards on six plays to tie the game at 42 and force overtime.

    Mayfield's fumbled snap

    Mayfield was in the process of changing a play in the fourth quarter with the Browns clinging to a 28-24 lead when Tretter snapped the ball. Mayfield, not ready for the snap, fumbled it and former Buckeye Johnathan Hankins recovered. It was Hankins' second recovery of the game. Two plays later, Jordy Nelson caught a 19-yard TD pass from Carr that gave the Raiders a 31-28 lead.

    The Browns continue to implode in the fourth quarter when Dwayne Harris returned a punt 49 yards to set up the 44-yard McCrane field goal that extended the Raiders' lead to 34-28.

    Callaway  then apparently fumbled on a punt return, but his knee was ruled down upon review.

    Terrance Mitchell's injury

    Mitchell, the Browns' starting cornerback, suffered what Jackson said was a broken forearm when he broke up a second-quarter pass to Jordy Nelson. Mitchell immediately grabbed the arm and went to the medical tent. He was carted off with a big air cast and carted to the locker room. It was announced in the third quarter that he was out for the game. 

    Lynch's 52-yard blast

    The Raiders closed to within 28-24 after Lynch ripped off a 52-yard run to the Browns' 17. But free safety Damarious Randall dropped Dwayne Harris for a 1-yard loss loss to forced the Raiders to settle for a 29-yard field goal. 

    Mayfield's sack-fumble

    Backed up into his own end, Mayfield was strip-sacked by Maurice Hurst and former Buckeye Hankins recovered with 5:45 left in the third. Three plays later, Carr hit tight end Jared Cook with a 7-yard TD pass to cut the Raiders' deficit to 28-21 with 5:34 left in the third.  

    Mayfield's second career TD pass

    Mayfield threw his second career touchdown pass, a 2-yarder to Jarvis Landry, with 7:26 left in the third quarter to make it 28-14. Duke Johnson's two-point run was ruled good upon a Browns review. The score cashed in Randall's interception of a Carr pass intended for Martavis Bryant and 50-yard return. 

    Damarious Randall's pick

    Randall's interception, the second of the game by the Browns, gave the Browns 13 takeaways on the season which equaled their total from all of last season. Randall swiped the pass and rumbled for 50 yards despite the fact he barely practiced all week with a heel injury and was listed as questionable.  

    Callaway's up-and-down day

    Callaway's outing got off to a bad start. He slipped twice, including once on  Conley's pick six that went off Callaway's hands. A streaking Callaway couldn't quite catch up to a Mayfield deep ball in the end zone, and then he dropped several passes, including a short out in the third quarter and a two-point pass. 

    Browns go up 20-14 on a FG

    Browns rookie kicker Greg Joseph kicked his second field goal of the game, a 28-yarder, to increased the Browns lead to 20-14. Joseph also kicked a 25-yarder in the first quarter to make it 7-3.  

    Mayfield's first touchdown pass

    Mayfield made his first TD pass a memorable one.  With the Browns clinging to a 9-7 lead, Mayfield found 6-7 tight end Darren Fells singled up with 5-11 safety Reggie Nelson down the left side, and Fells rumbled 49 yards for the touchdown.

    Duke Johnson ran in on the left side of the end zone for the two-point conversion that increased the Browns' lead to 17-7 with 9:00 minutes left in the half. Mayfield has no qualms about throwing to covered receivers and tight ends, because he knows he can fit it into tight windows. 

    Mayfield goes three and out on opening drive 

    Mayfield went three-and-out on his opening drive after Jarvis Landry and Rashard Higgins dropped back-to-back passes. Landry caught the short pass but then couldn't hang on when linebacker Marquel Lee nailed him. Higgins flat-out dropped a right sideline pass.

    Chubb's TD run

    Rookie running back Nick Chubb, who came into the game with only seven carries for 41 yards, ripped off a 63-yard touchdown run with 12:35 left in the half to put the Browns on top 9-7. Callaway dropped the two-point pass in the end zone. Chubb's TD was the longest by a Browns rookie since Lee Suggs had a 78-yard score on Dec. 28, 2003.  

    E.J. Gaines INT

    Gaines replaced Mitchell and picked off Carr with 23 seconds left in the half to prevent the Raiders from going ahead or tying the game at the break. The pass went off Cook's hands and Gaines was there to swipe it at the Browns' 15 when Carr was driving. It preserved the Browns' 17-14 lead at the half. The INT gave the Browns 12 takeaways on the season, their most through four games since 1989.

    Next

    The Browns host the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday Oct. 7 at 1 p.m.


    0 0

    How did Baker Mayfield do in his first career NFL start?

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - Baker Mayfield got his first NFL start on Sunday, but it wasn't enough to avoid a 45-42 overtime loss to the Raiders.

    Mayfield's debut against the Jets in Week 3 was almost universally celebrated. The rookie quarterback was 17-of-23 passing for 201 yards in relief of Tyrod Taylor, and led the Browns to their first win since 2016.

    Against the Raiders, Mayfield experienced a little of everything.

    He got his first career touchdown pass and his first career interception, which turned into his first career pick-six. 

    Mayfield finished 21-of-41 passing for 295 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also fumbled twice, once when the pocket collapsed on him as he tried to throw, and once when he didn't seem ready for J.C. Tretter's snap. Mayfield's second interception ended the Browns' last chance to win the game in regulation. 

    Mayfield also had a couple Houdini escapes that kept plays alive, and he even picked up a fourth-and-6 with his legs. 

    How do you think Mayfield did? Check out the poll below and let us know what you think. You can explain your grade in the comment section.

    Get the best Browns news and perspective in your inbox at lunch time every weekday. Sign up for our Browns newsletter.

    Go inside the Browns every week with cleveland.com's Orange and Brown Podcast, featuring Mary Kay Cabot and Dan Labbe. Listen and subscribe here.

    Want more Browns? Subscribe to our Browns YouTube channel for interviews, analysis and more.


    0 0

    Hyde's first-down run was overturned and it cost the Browns a shot to run out the clock.

    OAKLAND, Calif. -- Football is a game of inches, and by moving the ball back a few inches on a replay review in the fourth quarter on Sunday, the Browns went from clinching their second victory to trying to hang on to a tenuous eight-point lead -- one they gave up in a game they eventually lost in overtime.

    Running back Carlos Hyde appeared to gain enough for a game-ending first down with 1:41 remaining and the Raiders sitting on just one timeout. The officials initially ruled it a first down following a measurement, but changed the spot after a review. The ball was moved back and the Browns punted.

    "They called a first down," Hyde said following the game. "I don't know what the hell they saw."

    Apparently what they saw, Hyde said, was that his forearm was down before the ball crossed the line to gain. That was met with disagreement from the Browns locker room.

    "I thought it was a first down," left guard Joel Bitonio said. "Honestly, 100 percent, I didn't think there was a chance it was overturned. I didn't see the replay afterwards, I was trying to watch it, but it was a terrible angle. I was pulling around, I blocked somebody, I was a foot away from him, I thought it was a first down."

    Even FOX's rules analyst, Dean Blandino, who was once in charge of making these types of replay decisions, was surprised by the overturn.

    "I think we're all looking at this here in the studio and we're shocked that they overturned it," Blandino said on FOX's game broadcast. "Again, you don't have a big line (on the review), it's tough to tell exactly where the ball is. I wouldn't have overturned that one."

    Wide receiver Jarvis Landry was right in front of Hyde as he was brought down and believes the running back got enough to ice the game, too.

    "I was on the field. I was right there," he said. "Spot came in past the first down and they just moved it back."

    Despite the call, though, the Browns still had an opportunity to win the game by keeping the Raiders, who needed a touchdown and a two-point conversion, out of the endzone twice. They also had opportunities to score and win the game in regulation and overtime.

    "Just needed a stop," linebacker Joe Schobert said. "If we get a stop, we win the game. They needed to score eight points. Unfortunately, it didn't work out. We still should have won after that overtun."

    "Listen, it's an awful call," Landry said. "But, at the end of the day, we can blame the refs, we can blame so many things why it didn't work out, but that was a tough one."


    0 0

    Mitchell was hurt in the second quarter on Sunday.

    OAKLAND -- The Browns lost a key member of their secondary on Sunday, and they could be without him for a while.

    Cornerback Terrance Mitchell fractured his forearm, head coach Hue Jackson said after the game, and, when asked if Mitchell would be out for the season, said, "Possibly."

    Mitchell was injured defending Jordy Nelson in the second quarter on a third-down throw from Derek Carr. The pass fell incomplete and Mitchell immediately ran to the sideline and went into the medical tent. He was taken to the locker room by cart.

    A free agent signing this offseason, he won the No. 2 cornerback job opposite Denzel Ward and has an interception and two forced fumbles this season.

    The Browns had to shuffle in Mitchell's absence, playing E.J. Gaines at corner. There were also more opportunities for T.J. Carrie, who has primarily been the nickel, and Briean Boddy-Calhoun, who has seen a drastic decrease in snaps since Week 1.

    "We had to move some guys around," Jackson said. "Had some guys do some things they hadn't done in a while. But that's pro football."

    Elsewhere on the injury front, Myles Garrett was wearing a brace on his right wrist after the game. He called it precautionary and said he expects he'll be fine by next Sunday.


    0 0

    Baker Mayfield said the Browns' offense gave the Raiders too many chances to capitalize on mistakes, and that as the quarterback it's his job to get that stuff right.

    OAKLAND, Ohio -- While most of the Browns were upset about the reversal on Carlos Hyde's third-down conversion that would've won the game for the them regulation, Baker Mayfield was busy assuming blame for the 45-42 overtime loss to the Raiders because of his four turnovers.

    "I'm the quarterback of this team,'' he said. "It's on me.''

    Mayfield lost his first NFL start 45-42 to the Raiders in overtime, in part because of those turnovers, and in part because of that questionable reversal on Hyde's two-yard run on which the refs ruled upon review that his elbow was down after 1-yard.

    But Mayfield, the victim of at least six dropped passes, preferred to put it on the many errors in this hard-fought game, especially his own.

    "Absolutely (we should've won),'' he said. "When you make that many mistakes though it's not going to happen. It's all the little things, being fundamental on our routes, me delivering the ball in the right place on time. Heah, they scored enough points to win, but we gave them the opportunity to do so.

    "We turned the ball over too many times and gave them a chance. And in this league, when you turn the ball over like we did today, like I did, you're not going to win those games, so we saw the end result of that.''

    Mayfield (21-of-41, 295, two TDs, two INTs, 70.7 rating) began and ended regulation with interceptions, and lost two fumbles in between. Three of his turnovers led to touchdowns and the last one prevented the Browns from winning the game in regulation.

    It began with a pick-six on his second drive -- 36-yard interception return for a touchdown by Massillon native and former Buckeye Gareon Conley that made it 7-0.  Antonio Callaway slipped on the short baseball grass and the ball went off his hands.

    Mayfield overcame that to build a 28-14 lead in third quarter but was strip-sacked while backed up his own end zone and and then dropped a snap from JC Tretter when he wasn't ready for it. The two fumbles started the Raiders at the Browns' 7 and 20, and Derek Carr threw touchdown passes to convert both for a 31-28 lead.

    "Obviously, turnovers were the difference, in my opinion, in the game,'' said Jackson. "It was a 14-point swing there in the second half where they scored each time we turned it over and you look at the score and that's the difference. You can't turn the ball over. That's kind of uncharacteristic of what we've done on offense, so it bit us in the butt today. That was disappointing."

    He said Mayfield's NFL start "was good other than the turnovers. I've got to look at the first one. I didn't think that was on him. I thought we were waiting on the ball. I think we've got to go back and drive at the ball. The second one the right guard had some leakage and the ball gets knocked out of his hand. The third one that's between him and the center. they've got to work that out. that can't happen."

    The growing pains that you have to live with when you install a rookie QB?

    "No. I'm tired of growing pains,'' Jackson said. "We can do those things better. Those things hadn't reared their ugly head until now. Baker can do better, our offense can do better. Our special teams can do better. Our defense can do better.''

    Still, Mayfield fought, scrapped, made some great throws, slipped out of sacks, and put the Browns in position to win in regulation. He hit a struggling Callaway with a 59-yard catch-and-run to the 1, and Carlos Hyde punched it in for a 35-34 lead with 8:07 left. Nick Chubb gave the Browns some breathing room with a 41-yard TD run -- his second long score of the day to go along with a 63-yarder in the second quarter. The defense held and the came Hyde's fateful non-conversion and Carr's gametying touchdown pass and two-point conversion with 30 seconds left.

    Mayfield threw an ill-advised pass down the deep left side for Callaway and Reggie Nelson picked him off. In OT, he went three-and-out on his only chance, with a deep third down ball for Duke Johnson getting broken up.

    But Raiders coach Jon Gruden was impressed with the No. 1 overall pick.

    "I love Mayfield,'' he said. "The way he plays, the confidence he has. He got out of trouble and made some unbelievable throws under fire today. He has a bright future, and I think Cleveland found their quarterback. They've been complaining about not having one for awhile, but it's pretty obvious they got one.''

    Raiders linebacker Bruce Irvin agreed.

     "Baker is a hell of an athlete,'' he said. "We ended up with two sacks. I was told it was four or five, but you know, because he's so good, he got out of two of them.''

     Mayfield explained his four turnovers, beginning with Callaway's slip on the first one.

    "When you play on the field like this, it's not the dirt, it's the grass,'' he said. "The grass is so short for the baseball field, you've got to be so fundamental on your routes. You've got to be really over your toes when you're breaking. There's just not enough surface to dig into for those guys so that's what we saw early, but we got used to it.

    "You'd like to be able to start fast and have that first interception back. It gave them momentum right off the top. We were able to battle back but we've got to realize what surface we're playing on and what we've got to do to win.''

    He went over to Callaway, who dropped a deep ball in the end zone, a two-point pass and a short out, with a message after that pick-six.

    "A whole lot of game to play,'' he said. "We talked about the surface. Just said next time we've got be more fundamentally sound and play the next play. That's not the end of the world. We had many chances in that game to win so it wasn't going to be just one play that lost it for us.''  
        
    The strip-sack on the first play of a drive from his 11?

    "Just trying to get the ball out of my hand,'' he said. "I didn't see the review, if my arm was going forward or not. But yeah, they had good coverage. Was going to check it down outside and they just made a play.''

    The fumbled snap?

    "Just a miscommunication,'' he said. "Like I said that one's on me. We were going to get them set. As long as they're set it doesn't matter who's in motion or not.  That's on me to get everybody on the same page.''

    The last interception on the deep ball to Callaway?

    "We were trying to get a shot downfield,'' he said. "You never like turning the ball over, but trying to get the ball down in their side territory just to get a kickoff, but look back at the tape, we'll see, probably could've checked it down. We had people open, it just so happened we wanted a route, a little double move and it didn't work out.''

    Mayfield's teammates were impressed with the way he fought back.

    "He did a good job,'' said left guard Joel Bitonio. "He was always confident in the huddle, no matter what happened, if it was a turnover or bad play, he was ready to play the next play. He did some really good things. We've got to protect him, we've got to make sure he's doing alright. He took some shots we didn't want him to take, but he did good. He showed some promise. I know he wanted to get a win, but we're getting there.''

    Jackson expects Mayfield to clean up his mistakes quickly and be ready for the Ravens next week.

    "He's going to learn,'' he said. "Football intelligence. As he goes through it, he'll understand how important those things are. You've got to be team protecting, but we don't want to rein him in because I like the things he's doing. The last throw to Antonio, we can learn from that. The quarterback-center snap, that can't be an issue. That should never be an issue. But the other things, we've got to continue to get better.''


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