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Press Conference

Baker Mayfield: "It is a moment I will definitely never forget"

QB Baker Mayfield:

On the feeling and energy after today's win and converting on third down to close out the game:

"It is a moment I will definitely never forget. First off, I want to start by saying the cliché thing – I truly do mean this and everyone in our locker room honestly believes it – we are not satisfied. We expected to be here. We have worked extremely hard to get here. We are excited to have a chance to be the playoffs. The feeling of walking off the field and the energy in the stadium, playing 'Cleveland Rocks' I can see an old school video going on and I can look up and see old school highlights of players like (Browns Legends QBs) Brian Sipe, Bernie Kosar and some old-schoolers on there and for it to be that loud with the limited number of fans, it is a special moment for us."

On his first down run in the fourth quarter to seal the win:

"However we have do it, I will be happy about it. I heard the play call when I was on the sideline and I was over with (QB) Case Keenum and he told me. I thought he was joking at first because I did not hear it well. We called it, and I said 'Let's go do it. Obviously, whatever it takes.' It was a great call. All of our guys made great blocks, but (RB) Kareem (Hunt) right in front of me, I could hear that collision. He smacked that guy in front of me. He gave me enough room to get the first down."

On the Browns locker room after the win, particularly for more tenured players who have seen tough times in Cleveland:

"(Head Coach) Kevin (Stefanski) gave (G) Joel (Bitonio) a chance to talk because he knows that Joel has been the longest-tenured guy here. It means a ton – not only for guys like (DE) Myles (Garrett) and Joel, but if you look at our equipment staff, our support staff and the people who have been here and endured these things, it has not been fun for them. For us, the people who are around us and work more hours than we do and they make our lives easier in a year of ups and downs, it means so much to them. That is truly what it is all about. We are living a dream right now, and we are able to play football as our jobs. To see these guys that have been here and have gone through everything and to see the smiles on their faces and the sense of relief for them is great. That is why we have a lot of new faces in the locker room is to set the new standard. That is what it needs to be. It was a good time in the locker room, but we everybody is like, 'We have the Steelers next week.' We will enjoy this one, but onto the next."

On facing the Steelers again next week in the AFC Wild Card round:

"Obviously, we are facing them again. We are going to get some guys back hopefully, and they are obviously going to get some guys back – they sat quite a few. We will roll with the punches. It sets up a must-win. Like I said earlier this week, it was win or go home for us already. Our playoffs started a week early. It just so happens that we play the same opponent next week. We know what the Steelers are all about. It is going to be a physical game just like tonight was."

On the last few minutes of the game and his mindset as the Steelers were driving to score down eiht points:

"In my head, I was getting my two-minute thoughts going. We had all three timeouts left with a little over a minute. To us, it is quite an amount of time to be able to go back and try to get in field goal range, if they were to make that two-point conversion. It is preparing yourself to get ready to go out and nothing else. The most important play is always the next one. That is what we were doing as an offense. As soon as they stopped them on the two-point conversion, we knew we needed to get one first down. The mentality changes as soon as that happens. Instead of the passing mentality, you get into the physical mentality that we only need 10 (yards). However we do that, we have to get it. There was no panic. There was no flinching or no panic on our sideline."

On if he was kicking himself after the third-down sack in the fourth quarter:

"There are a lot of things I kick myself after. You look at not throwing the ball early to (TE) David (Njoku) on that corner route that (Steelers S) Minkah (Fitzpatrick) broke up. My fourth-down throw straight into the dirt with Higgy (WR Rashard Higgins) right before that. There are a lot of things that we obviously did not play our best game. There is no doubt about that. We are in the playoffs, and we get to learn from this film, play the same opponent, go correct these mistakes and see what happens."

On reflecting on reaching the playoffs, given the unique circumstances of this past year:

"For our team to win 11 games this year over a lot of ups and downs, to learn new systems on both offense and defense over Zoom meetings, to have a lot of new faces and get to know each other in a very different way and to come out and find a way to get in the playoffs in a division that has three teams in the playoffs, it is pretty damn special. I am proud of this team. Like I said, we are not satisfied. That is the best part is we have scratched and clawed and found a way to get in when we had to. All we wanted was a chance, and now we have one."

On what about Head Coach Kevin Stefanski has allowed the Browns to overcome adversity this season:

"Much like I described our scenario [at the end of the game], maybe we have to go back down and score late in the game right now, Kevin has not flinched. He rolls with the punches. He has the 'whatever happens, happens' mentality, which is the correct one to have during – well, it is now 2021 – during the 2020 season. It is the correct mentality to have our guys ready for any obstacle or any adversity that comes our way."

On the challenges and opportunities the Browns have next week playing at Pittsburgh:

"The obvious ones. The Steelers are a great team, led by a good coach, and they are a physical team. They find different ways to win and compete no matter what. We have to find a way to win. It is a playoff scenario – win or go home. Like we said, all we wanted was a chance, and now we have it against the same opponent that has a lot of people coming back. It is going to be a physical ballgame."

On his statement at the NFL Combine prior to being drafted by Cleveland of saying if one person could help turnaround the Browns it would be him:

"First, I would say I have had a ton of help along the way. Like I said, there has been a lot of turnover. There are very few players that are here who have endured the not so great times, which is why we mentioned guys like Joel (Bitonio), and like you said, Myles did not win a game his rookie year, but it was a turning point. All it takes is you have to weather the storm. You have to be able to take those punches. I have a good buddy – he is the same one I brought up before that played at St Ed's and I will not cuss – but he says you have to eat your 'crap burger' – you can insert the other word for it – you have to eat your 'crap burger' before you have a real good burger. A lot of people here have weathered the storm and rolled with those punches, and you are seeing the benefits of just staying tough and doing that, facing adversity head on and saying we are tired of it, and let's go onto the next one."

G Joel Bitonio:

On how the moment feels when reaching the postseason for the first time in his career:

"It was great. It was a great team win. It was not perfect by any means. We had some guys out, and I know they rested a bunch of guys and had some guys out, too. The team found a way to win, and that is what it is all about. It would have been really cool to have 67,000 people in there, but the 12,000 that were there were making some noise. It was much appreciated. It is just one of those moments you will look back and be like, 'That is something we have worked for for seven years now.' It is just cool to have a chance to go to the playoffs. We have a chance. We are in the dance."

On his message to the team after the game:

"It was just I appreciate everybody in the room and the work that they put in from the top down, just working to change the culture here. There was a culture of losing and a culture of not being able to finish some of the games that we have been in. I just appreciate everybody and hopefully we are setting the stage for a winning culture in Cleveland for a long time."

On the difference in the Browns culture now:

"Honestly – I have talked about this a few times in some press conferences – just the top-down structure, everybody is pulling in the same direction. (Head) Coach (Kevin) Stefanski does a good job of taking it one day at a time and one week at a time and playing for each other. We set a standard, and win, lose, or draw, if you do not play the standard, there are corrections to be made and there are things to be done that are going to benefit the team. We are all trying to work to those goals. We have the talent now. Now, it is just about execution, and we have done enough this year to get into the playoffs."

On his emotions entering today's game, given the impact of it and the circumstances of the past week:

"It was a big game. We knew we had to handle our business – win and get in. We had good focus about ourselves. In the two practices that we got to go into the building this week, I thought we had good practices. I thought there was a focus about us. For me, it felt like a normal game. Obviously, there was more on the line than a normal Week 17 game for us, but we were focused and ready to go. There was a little bit of emotion and some excitement out there. You want to play your best, but it felt pretty normal like a normal game. It was obviously a big one, but we were just trying to focus and execute the best we could."

On the rollercoaster of emotions when the Steelers scored and went for two and then the game-sealing run by QB Baker Mayfield:

"Our defense has been in that situation a few times this year where we have been up by eight or something and they got a touchdown but they have done a great job of those two-point conversions. When they scored, it was like alright we have to get down, we have to get points and get in field goal range at least. We have all of our timeouts and we have enough time to do it. We were focused on that. They got a stop, and we were like, 'Alright, now we need a first down.' We recovered the onside kick, and we put that little Baker run in this week for third-and-short. It was a good play, and Baker sealed the deal. That was special getting Baker to seal the deal there. He is the quarterback of this team and the leader. To have the ball is in his hand to finish the game, that was impressive."

On how he will celebrate tonight:

"Just go hang out with my wife and baby. We will probably watch some football. Nothing too crazy. We are in a pandemic right now so we will just hang out at the house. It is good. I will probably watch the film and see what we need to do to get better. Just hang out with the family."

On what emotions Stefanski showed after the win, given Stefanski is an even-keel person, and the importance of that type of personality with the adversity the team faced this week:

"There were some emotions. He was excited to get the playoffs and get the win, any means necessary. We have had a rough couple of weeks with the COVID outbreak and the COVID protocols and things like that, but the guys on the field knew what we had to do, and he was excited about that at the end of the game. He is not satisfied, though. We are going to learn from this tape and move on and try and improve for next week. It is just the guy he is. He was definitely happy, and you can tell he has a little bit different emotions, but it is almost robotic sometimes the way he goes about his business because he is just the same guy, he has his standards and he was appreciative, though, of everybody's work – just from the top down, everybody's work. That is what he was appreciative of and then us playing as a team. You could tell he was very appreciative of that."

RB Nick Chubb:

On his determination during the first long run and how bad he wanted to get the win today:

"I was determined to get into the end zone. The whole team, we all played determined today. We did whatever it took to win, and we came out with the win."

On if the Browns have a 'not done yet' mentality and the team's celebration after the game:

"I agree with that. Our goal wasn't just to make the playoffs; it was to go further. That is what we are planning to do."

On the Browns' performance second half:

"We pulled together. Whatever it takes, that was our mindset – whatever it takes to win the game."

On G Joel Bitonio's message to the team after the game:

"He was excited. He has been around for a long time and has not had as much success as he has wanted to. Things have changed, and he is a part in the change in culture. He has been here since the beginning. We all play hard for him, and we are all having fun."

On if he also wanted to reach the playoffs this year for his teammates, particularly those who have been with the team for several years:

"Oh, 100 percent."

On reaching 1,000 yards this season on the first TD run, especially after missing four games this year:

"It is definitely a special moment for me, but I can't take all the credit. The O line does a tremendous job blocking and opening up holes. It is a team stat for me to hit 1,000 yards. I thank everyone for that."

On his 61 rushing yards and TD on the first drive to get the team going:

"We came out hot. We came out ready to play. It showed on the first drive."

On the challenges the Browns faced in the past week due to COVID-19 and if it that was one the hardest things the team has faced all year:

"Yeah, it was tough, but this whole year has been nothing that has been certain. We have been changing schedule the whole year. It is always something different. I feel like we are used to it now. We just adjust and adapt."

On if Head Coach Kevin Stefanski was the main person who led the team through adversity in the past week and the year:

"Yeah, he did a great job of keeping us calm. We also have great leaders on this team that did the same thing."

On what gives the team and fans confidence that the Browns can win a playoff game:

"This team plays hard. No matter who we are playing, we are always right there in the game. Just have to find a way to win. With all of the preparation we put into it, it is going to be good. We will have a good shot at anything."

On playing the Steelers again next week at Heinz Field during the AFC Wild Card round:

"We are ready for whoever we are playing. We have to go in this week, have a great week of practice and work out whenever we play or whoever we play."

DE Myles Garrett:

On how amazing it feels to bring this type of joy to the Browns and Browns fans:

"We are just paying them back for all of the time and the effort they have invested, just like us. They are just involved of being there, supporting us and cheering us on as we are out there getting the work done. It is a pleasure to finally really show them what they are doing is appreciated. We are just going to keep on rolling with the punches."

On if it felt like it was more than 12,000 fans present today, given the love and excitement felt at FirstEnergy Stadium:

"There are hundreds of thousands, not just here. The 12,000 here, that was great, but there are so many Browns [fans] all over the world who were happy to see us get this win and finally get into the dance."

On his emotions after clinching a playoff berth, particularly given the Browns did not win a game his rookie year:

"I have been waiting. It is not off yet. Everybody likes to get a ticket to the dance, but if you want to dance with the pretty girl, that means you have to make it to the end. We are trying to make it to the next game one by one, but we know where we are trying to get and we know where we want to go."

On the rematch against the Steelers next week in the AFC Wild Card round, including with other Steelers players returning:

"They are going to have pretty much the same gameplan. You have some of their better guys filling some of the spots, but so are we. We will have some guys back showing up to make plays and being where we need them."

On if he and QB Baker Mayfield shared a moment after the game as leaders of the team after earning a playoff berth:

"Definitely, we saw each other on the win in locker room. This is what we imagined. This is what we have been trying to do all along. Now, we are just trying to make it something that is year to year."

On Mayfield's run in the fourth quarter to seal the win:

"He is tough. I never had a doubt in my mind that he was going to fight for every yard and get that first down. When it was in his hands, I was sure we were going to be alright."

On if he talked to Steelers QB Mason Rudolph after the game, given it appeared the two of them spoke after the game:

"I just told him good game – he played a hell of a game – and we will see you all in a week. He played tough. He had 300 yards and a couple of touchdowns. He played very well, and he kept them in it to the very end. Had to show a little praise that he did well in this game and he was able to make some big plays for them."

On the Browns defense without five starters holding the Steelers offense to no TDs in the first half:

"I know they are missing some guys, but the same can be said for us. I am proud of how we responded. Especially the first half, we really jumped on them. We held them to three field goals in the first half. That is what we have to do. We have to hold them to either three points or none. We have to make it difficult for everything they get. If we can do that, we give our offense a chance and allow them to get on the field and hopefully put up more than what they are doing."

On the Browns reaching the playoffs and what gives the team a chance in the postseason:

"Everybody has a shot any given Sunday. Making it to the playoffs means you are among the best of the best. It means you do at least something well in every phase of the ball. Just have to come and watch and see if we can do it. I am not here to try and convince anybody. I do it with my play, and we are going to do the same when we get the chance."

WR Jarvis Landry:

On the feeling after today's win:

"It felt really good. This is a special time for this organization and for these guys who come here and work day in and day out, but we have more to do."

On if that was also Head Coach Kevin Stefanski's message after the game that the team has more to do:

"That has been his message, and I hope that every guy in this building feels that way, as well. I would not say that today was our best style of football. We have some things to go back and look at. We get another shot at this team again and go from there."

On if he is excited to play the Steelers again next week in the playoffs:

"I am just excited to play football around this time of year. It does not matter who we play."

On if the 'lethargic play' in the first half was a result of not getting enough practice time this past week:

"I don't know. Maybe that has something to do with it. A lot of the things we did today were things that we have established as an offense and we know what we can do as far as running the same types of different plays. I just felt like the penalties, the self-inflicted things and all of those things hurt drives. Those are things that we have gotten away from this season, and it has allowed us to be successful. That is a shaky road, and we don't want to go down it."

On QB Baker Mayfield putting the game on his shoulders late in the contest:

"I think he had three big first downs. Not only the game winner, but he had two big ones on third down for us. He had four runs today that actually moved the chains. That is what we need. We need every guy that we can making plays when they have opportunities. That is part of the greatness that he has in him."

On what he will remember most from today:

"The moment that was most special for me was seeing the smile on (C) JC Tretter's face, (DE) Myles Garett's and (G) Joel Bitonio's. Seeing those smiles because they have been through the hard times in Cleveland was really special."

On his appreciation for making it to the playoffs for the second time in his career, particularly during the unique circumstances of the 2020 season:

"This is a tough sport. This is a tough business. It is all in the details and in your intent and focus. For the most part for us, it is about never being satisfied and understanding that you can't be satisfied. We are creating a standard here. This is playoff football, and we are here. We have an opportunity to just keep on going forward one game at a time. That is how we have to look at it."

On this moment means Bitonio, Tretter and other Browns players:

"Yeah, Baker got the first down on the third down play, and I went up to JC and tried to celebrate with him a little bit. He was like, 'Let's just kneel the ball first.' I have tremendous respect for those guys and the way that they work and the way that they come to work every day and the things that they go through. To see us be able to kneel and to see those guys a part of that on the field was something special."

On if he will call WR Odell Beckham Jr. as soon as he gets home:

"As soon as I make it to the car."

On if he felt the joy, excitement and energy from the 12,000 fans in attendance at FirstEnergy Stadium:

"Are you kidding? With these fans? I am sure if they could still be in the stadium now and did not get kicked out, they would still be in there. We have some of the best fans in the league."

On if this trip to the playoffs feels like a bigger accomplishment than his last postseason appearance due to the COVID-19 circumstances:

"It is not really even about COVID. Again, I always talk about playing football in these months, and it is about these guys. It is about these guys that work day in and day out while taking care of their bodies and spending time away from their families and sacrificing time away from their families. To be able to play in this month and play in this part of the season is something special. That is the special part for me."

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