Browns' Baker Mayfield: Insensitive to Suggest He's Better Without Odell Beckham

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2020

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) during an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)
Emilee Chinn/Associated Press

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield took issue Wednesday with a question regarding whether he is better without wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the lineup.

According to Tom Withers of the Associated Press, Mayfield said it was "insensitive" to discuss the topic after Beckham suffered a season-ending knee injury in Cleveland's Week 7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Despite the fact that Beckham missed nearly all of Sunday's game, Mayfield turned in his best performance of the season, as he went 22-of-28 for 297 yards, five touchdowns and one interception in a 37-34 Browns win.

Mayfield was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts.

With OBJ out Sunday, wideout Rashard Higgins was the main beneficiary, as Mayfield found him six times for 110 yards. Mayfield also hit rookie wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones for the game-winning 24-yard touchdown with just 15 seconds remaining in the game.

Mayfield also used his tight ends more often against Cincinnati. Harrison Bryant finished with four catches for 56 yards and two touchdowns, while David Njoku had two grabs for 20 yards and a score.

Beckham is second on the team to Jarvis Landry in both receptions (23) and receiving yardage (319) this season. His three touchdown receptions are also second on the team behind only running back Kareem Hunt's four.

After OBJ went down in Week 7, Mayfield spread the ball around pretty evenly, which may be his plan of attack moving forward, although Landry figures to assume the role of No. 1 receiver.

Cleveland has been a run-first team this season, and the commitment to the running game is one of the biggest reasons for the Browns' 5-2 start. Cleveland is third in the NFL with 157 rushing yards per game thanks to the play of Hunt and previously Nick Chubb, who is currently out with a knee injury.

The Browns have nearly all the pieces needed to be a playoff team, including a strong running game and a quality defense led by the NFL's sack leader in defensive end Myles Garrett.

Mayfield is one of the team's few question marks, but he stepped up in a big way Sunday after his No. 1 wideout went down.

After taking a step back in his sophomore NFL season in 2019 with 22 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, Mayfield is on a better pace this season, completing 63.1 percent of his passes for 1,392 yards, 15 touchdowns and seven picks.

Mayfield will look to continue his strong play in Week 8 when the Browns host the 3-3 Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday afternoon.