Baker Mayfield Says Browns Are 'Going to Be Back' After Playoff Loss to Chiefs

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 17, 2021

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws a pass during the second half of an NFL divisional round football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Baker Mayfield said after the Cleveland Browns 22-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in the AFC Divisional Round that the team is just getting started.

"We're going to be back," he told reporters. "It sucks when you come up short. But you get that taste of it and you realize you learn lessons."

He added that it was tough to see the season end, but the Browns have made quite a bit of progress in his three seasons with the team:

Jake Trotter @Jake_Trotter

Baker, on this run coming to an end: “It sucks, to be quite honest. … But trying to find the positive out of it, we're setting a new standard here. … we're going to be back.” #Browns https://t.co/Iy3SsufUJW

Jake Trotter @Jake_Trotter

Baker, on the #Browns moving forward: “We’ve come a long way since I first got here, but we're not done yet. And, that's the best part…” https://t.co/n7AaWgVSqz

One of the key moments in the game came in the first half, when Rashard Higgins dove toward the end zone and outstretched the ball in an attempt to score. He was hit on the play and fumbled the ball into the end zone, however, and when the ball went out of bounds it was ruled a touchback and the Browns went from a potential touchdown to a turnover.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Browns were THIS close to scoring this TD 😱 (via @NFLUK) https://t.co/Tefl72gcwU

Browns fans will argue that Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen should have been penalized for leading with his helmet while tackling Higgins. Regardless, it was a pivotal moment.

After the game, Mayfield had Higgins' back:

Jake Trotter @Jake_Trotter

Baker Mayfield, on the Higgins fumble: "There's so many other plays we could've (made)..." #Browns https://t.co/c4lRXDM1Ng

So did head coach Kevin Stefanski, who noted that the Browns have a rule against reaching out for the goal line in such scenarios but respected Higgins' effort on the play.

"Rashard Higgins is a warrior. He's battled. I'll never doubt his effort," he told reporters. "Unfortunate play. I'm proud to coach him."

All in all, Mayfield and the Browns have a lot to be proud of after the 2020 season. They went from 6-10 a year ago to 11-5, ending an 18-year playoff drought, which included eliminating their rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, from the playoffs last week. Mayfield, 25, threw for 3,563 yards, 26 scores and just eight interceptions, completing 62.8 percent of his passes and reaffirming himself as a franchise quarterback.

The Browns are back. In Cleveland, the 2020 season feels like the beginning of something bigger, even if Sunday was a tough way for it to end.