Mayfield shakes off injury, leads Browns past Texans 31-21
By TOM WITHERS
CLEVELAND (AP) Baker Mayfield wasn't missing a snap. So once his left shoulder got popped back into its socket, there was no stopping him.
Just like another tough-as-nails quarterback.
"He's like Brett Favre 2.0," Browns star defensive end Myles Garrett said with smile. "Less picks, though."
Mayfield came back after the injury to throw a touchdown pass and run for a TD, leading Cleveland to a 31-21 win Sunday over the Houston Texans, who were in it until starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor hurt his hamstring.
Nick Chubb had a 26-yard touchdown run for the Browns (1-1), who bounced back from blowing a double-digit lead and losing at Kansas City to thrill their first capacity home crowd since 2019.
Mayfield went 10 for 10 after a first-half interception - he injured his non-throwing shoulder while making the tackle on the play - and finished 19 of 21 for 213 yards. Chubb had 95 yards on 11 carries.
"He just lets stuff roll off his back," Garrett said. "He doesn't let the last play affect him good or bad - touchdown or interception. He just rolls with the punches and stays the same."
Rookie Demetric Felton caught a short pass from Mayfield, made a spin move, broke a tackle and went 33 yards in the third quarter for an electrifying TD to put Cleveland ahead for good.
The Texans (1-1) were tied at halftime and moving the ball with ease before losing Taylor for the second half.
The 32-year-old, who spent 2018 with Cleveland and got Houston's job this season by default because of Deshaun Watson's legal troubles, completed 10 of 11 passes in the first half for 125 yards.
Texans coach David Culley said Taylor got hurt just before halftime.
"He came off to the sideline and was running to the left, and he kind of pulled up and knew something was wrong," Culley said. "He thought he was OK, but once we got him in, we realized it was something."
Taylor was not made available to the media.
Taylor's injury forced rookie Davis Mills into his first NFL action and he threw an interception on his second series.
Culley was asked if there's a chance Watson, who has requested a trade and remains exiled, could play Thursday against Carolina.
"We'll have to see," he said.
Mills threw a 2-yard TD pass to Brandin Cooks in the fourth quarter to pull the Texans within 24-21.
But the Browns responded with an 82-yard scoring drive - mostly on the ground - that Chubb ended with his score.
Not everything went Cleveland's way. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry suffered a medial collateral ligament injury on the second offensive play and didn't return. Coach Kevin Stefanski said Landry will undergo an MRI on the injured knee on Monday.
For a while, Browns fans nervously wondered how long Mayfield might be out.
After throwing his pick, Cleveland's QB was hurt when he extended his arm to try and trip Texans safety Justin Reid - on a play where rookie receiver Anthony Schwartz stopped running. Mayfield stayed on the ground in obvious pain while being assessed.
He was checked in the medical tent before jogging to the locker room. Mayfield returned to the bench area a few minutes later.
"Obviously not an ideal situation," Mayfield said. "Trying to force him back inside and I think he realized it was me standing right there, so put his head down and ran right after me. Kind of popped in and out, but it will be good.
"Nothing too serious."
Mayfield, who is 40 of 49 in two games, almost seemed embarrassed by Garrett's Favre comparison.
"I'm not the only one who's dealing with injuries, by no means is that the case," he said. "Everybody's fighting through something. The healthiest you are the whole year is when you show up for camp, after that it's all downhill. So I'm going to tough it out, just because these guys are as well.
"I'm not getting hit every play, so when I do, let's just go. Let's roll with it."
While Mayfield was out, Taylor scored on a 15-yard scamper on third down to give the Texans a 14-7 lead.
On his first possession back, Mayfield scored on a 5-yard run he celebrated by firing the ball into the wall in front of the Dawg Pound section.
"I was just going to get in there no matter what," he said.
Landry's injury not only affected Cleveland's offense, but ended an impressive streak.
The eight-year veteran had caught at least two passes in 111 consecutive games, the fourth-longest streak in history. Hall of Famer Tim Brown holds the record with 147, one more than Jerry Rice.
Texans linebacker Zach Cunningham didn't play the first quarter, and Culley said it was because of "disciplinary" reasons.
Asked to elaborate Culley said, "That's internal."
Texans: WR Nico Collins (shoulder) got hurt in the first quarter and didn't return. ... S Eric Murray (concussion), WR Danny Amendola (hamstring), TE Antony Auclair (eye), CB Terrance Mitchell (head) and Reid (lower leg/head) were also hurt.
Browns: LT Jedrick Wills started despite not practicing all week. He played until the third quarter before being replaced. "He's still in his second year so to see him fight to get out there was great," Stefanski said.
Texans: Quick turnaround with the Panthers at home Thursday.
Browns: Host the Chicago Bears next Sunday.
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Updated September 19, 2021