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Baker Mayfield told Browns to let Chiefs loss 'sting,' motivate them to be better

The Browns quarterback addressed the team after their Week 1 loss and delivered a message the Browns have heeded to in the days leading up to Week 2

Minutes after the Browns exited the field after their 33-29 loss to the Chiefs on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, quarterback Baker Mayfield stood in the center of the locker room and delivered a speech.

"There's a fine line of beating yourself up about it and then realizing there's 16 more," he said Wednesday to local reporters when asked about his message. "I think we should beat ourselves up about it — because we feel like we should've won this game.

"This one should sting. You need to learn from it because we had that game and we need to close it out. This one needs to sting."

Three days after the Browns arrived back in Cleveland, it's clear the team is heeding his message.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski is constantly reminding players that the Browns are 0-1 and the Texans, who come to Cleveland on Sunday for the Browns' first home game, are 1-0. Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and Anthony Walker all mentioned Mayfield's message in interviews and are also embracing the notion that the Browns need to be angry.

They're 0-1, and they know they shouldn't be.

"We played a good game against a great team on the road," Mayfield said, "but we have to play a great game against a great team on the road."

Check out exclusive photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the Houston Texans

An interception from Mayfield was one of the plays that stopped the performance short from being "great." The pick happened on the Browns' final offensive play of the game as they were about to drive into Chiefs territory looking for a touchdown. On first-and-10, Mayfield sprinted out of the pocket and attempted to throw a ball over the head of TE Harrison Bryant out of bounds.

But Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen threw his arm at Mayfield's leg and disrupted his follow-through, sending the ball to a higher, shorter trajectory through the air and into the hands of Chiefs CB Mike Hughes.

"I definitely wasn't trying to throw it straight to Hughes," Mayfield said. "Sorensen just got enough of me to keep it in bounds … Regardless, I just have to find a way to not have a negative play."

The severity of Mayfield's error was compacted by previous mistakes in the second half. 

The defense allowed 23 points to the Chiefs in the final two quarters, including a touchdown on a 75-yard pass to an open Tyreek Hill. The second half was a stark contrast from the first, when the Browns limited the Chiefs to 10 points and capitalized on the extra rest from the offense's extended time on the field.

"We were up 29-20 with 10 minutes and 54 seconds left," Walker said. "Defensively, we've got to get off the field and help our team win a game."

For Sunday against the Texans, the Browns are hoping to continue some of the positives from Week 1. The offense used some creative play calls from Kevin Stefanski and some pure power running from Nick Chubb to find the end zone three times in the first half, for instance. Defensively, the Browns allowed the Chiefs to find the end zone just once on one of their three drives in the first two quarters.

Those two quarters provided a snapshot of the identity the Browns want to establish in 2021: Their offense will slowly wear an opponent down through its hard-nosed running style and tricky, play-action oriented passing attack. The defense, meanwhile, will be efficient and work to keep the offense on the field as much as possible.

"I think we've just got to finish," DT Malik Jackson said before taking another deep breath. "We've just got to finish."

The fact that the Browns didn't do that for four quarters Sunday was why Mayfield was urging his teammates to let the loss sting. They were on the verge of playing a great game on the road, but they fell short. The fault was only on themselves.

Now, they're looking to play a great game at home. They'll return to FirstEnergy Stadium on Sunday for the first time in 2021 and will play in front of a full-capacity crowd for the first time since 2019. 

The Texans won't present the same long list of challenges as the Chiefs, but that doesn't mean the Browns are entering Week 2 any differently than Week 1.

If anything, they'll be carrying even more of an edge. 

That's what Mayfield wants.

"I think it's a good lesson for us as long as we learn from it," he said. "As long as we handle it, it'll be a blessing in disguise that it happened in Week 1 rather than later on down the road."

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