BEREA, Ohio — Baker Mayfield shaved twice Sunday, before and after a 24-19 loss in Denver. The Cleveland Browns quarterback arrived at Empower Field with a beard, sported a handlebar mustache during the game and showed up to his postgame news conference with a simple mustache.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) November 5, 2019
Mayfield’s look went viral, even culminating with actor Macaulay Culkin reenacting the movie “Home Alone,” casting Mayfield as Daniel Stern’s “Wet Bandits” character, Marv.
— Macaulay Culkin (@IncredibleCulk) November 5, 2019
Wednesday, Mayfield explained what happened.
“The original thought for me, do handlebars,” he said, still with the plain mustache. “I was undefeated before Sunday with the handlebar mustache.
“So I shaved it off because I didn’t deserve it.”
It has been a rough season for Mayfield and the Browns, who are 2-6 despite massive preseason expectations. Mayfield is last in the NFL among qualifying passers in both completion percentage (58.7%) and touchdown-to-interception rate (0.58).
Last week, Mayfield stormed away from his media availability after a testy exchange with a reporter and admitted afterward in a tweet that he was “frustrated.” Wednesday, after yet another loss, Mayfield was far more tranquil, preaching how the Browns need to “stay the course” to turn their season around heading into Sunday’s game against the 6-2 Buffalo Bills.
“Now we just have to make the plays when they’re there,” Mayfield said. “We have to execute when it’s in the red zone. We have to do those obvious things. … We know that right now, eight games left in the season, just have a single-week focus coming into it and do our job.”
One downfall for the Browns offense, which ranks 26th in efficiency, has been the inability to consistently get the ball to their best playmaker, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Mayfield ranks last in the NFL in Total QBR while targeting wide receivers. Beckham hasn’t had a touchdown catch since Week 2, his only one of the season.
“People had this picture-perfect thing where it was going to be sunshine and rainbows and he was going to have a whole lot of one-on-ones,” Mayfield said. “It’s Odell Beckham. He’s going to have double coverage. We have to find ways to format things to get him the ball and force-feed him early on to where he can make an impact before we can have the perfect to-give-him-a-shot play. And I think that’s something we learned the hard way.”
Despite the lack of touches, Beckham came to the defense of the second-year quarterback last week, saying he’d “jump in the fire” with Mayfield.
“I’m going to be the first one here to defend him every single time,” Beckham said then. “I’ve always got his back.”
Mayfield said Wednesday that OBJ’s support through a four-game losing streak “means a lot.”