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Press Conference

Baker Mayfield: "We have the best backfield in the league"

QB Baker Mayfield:
On the Browns defense making big plays despite Myles Garrett being out:
"Yeah, obviously that is not a one-man job to fill those shoes. I know that is probably the most cliché thing, but it is just the truth. We had a ton of guys step up. When they knew that Myles was out, they knew they had to get funky on the field, and just like an old batch of collard greens, they just played well together."

On if the defense fed off each other when they were making big plays:
"Absolutely. You could tell their energy was extremely high. They could sense in the weather games they were able to be really aggressive and make those plays. Hats off to those guys. They played unbelievable."

On how hard it was to throw the ball and catch the ball in the rain:
"Normally, it is really not too bad in the rain games because you are able to sub the ball in and out, but there were a few times where it was just sitting there in the rain and it got pretty wet. No excuses, but still, it is pretty tough to throw a soaking wet ball. It is definitely harder to catch it in the rain. Unless you have the true rain weather gloves on, they are going to be pretty slick."

On his play during today's weather game compared to previous weather games with high winds:
"There are definitely a few plays that I would love to have back today – there is no doubt about that – but we have consistently for the most part taken care of the ball in these bad weather games. That is the key to winning those. We have done a good job of that. We can learn from these and obviously get better on some of it, but you just have to deal with the climates. Both teams have to adjust and adapt, and we just did a good job taking care of the ball today."

On RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt during the TD drive in the fourth quarter:
"We have the best backfield in the league. There is no question. Those guys are top five backs each, and there is something special. We have great guys up front and our tight ends are involved in that run game, but those two guys are extremely special. I get more excited when Nick and Kareem make great plays than when I do just to be quite honest with you guys. I love watching those guys run. I'm very happy to have them on our team. Whatever it takes to win, I don't care if that's handing the ball off every single time. We are happy to go 1-0 each week. We have two great backs."

On the advantage of having Chubb and Hunt together to wear down defenses:
"We have done a great job of sticking with the plan in the first half of some of these bad weather games. Haven't been great and teams are competing with the run game. We are able to stick with the plan in the second half, and these guys are breaking tackles. Like we said, they feed off of each other. It is somewhat fresh legs in the second half whereas these guys are still trying to tackle them the whole game. They feed off each other, but today was a great example of some of those runs that didn't pop early on that did late in the game."

On the Eagles limiting the run game in the first half:
"They were just the more physical team in the first half. They had some good stuff called. They were pretty aggressive. I think that's where our keeper game kind of kept them off balance. Some of our cadence, we had them jumping a little bit on their toes. We just realized that if we stuck to the plan and used all those things that the run game was eventually going to hit. Don't get away from it just because it is not working in the first half."

On sticking to the gameplan this season:
"If you overthink it, it is pretty easy to get away from the plan. Our staff is doing a great job of just sticking to what we are really good at, and that is our run game and our play-action game. When we need it, we can absolutely hit on that stuff. That is the great part about it. We are not getting away from the plan. We are trusting exactly what we have planned throughout the week. It is our gameplan that we are just sticking with and running and executing when we need to."

On if Head Coach Kevin Stefanski's demeanor and calmness translates to the Browns offense's confidence:
"I think our confidence is building offensively for sure. Obviously, the defense speaks for itself. When we are able to go in at halftime and realize we are very close to some of these runs popping and some of these being really big plays and just being able to take a deep breath and just evaluate where we are at and come in with the plan of attack, we are pretty good at adjusting."

On how frustrating it was to come up short at the goal line in the first half and RB Kareem Hunt's TD run in the second half:
"He was pretty mad at himself early in the game when we did not convert, even we had two chances to throw a touchdown before that. He was mad at himself for not getting in just based on the effort. Yeah, he was not going to let anybody deny him late in the game."

On Hunt's hurdle on the TD run:
"It was like he never stops going up. I mean he jumped and just kept levitating. It is like a Super Mario double-bounce. I do not know."

On how nice it was to throw deep today and how important that will be moving forward:
"It is huge for us just to be able to keep defenses on their toes and just all of those were off to play-action shots. We are making stuff look similar to run and pass. These guys are doing a good job of just securing the ball for us in these weather games. It is a huge part of our offense."

On LB Sione Takitaki's pick-six:
"(CB) Denzel (Ward) came in and got contact on (Eagles QB) Carson (Wentz) and made the ball get up in the air a little bit. Taki being able to secure that ball, not lose stride and go score that, that created the spark for us because we were a little bit at a stalemate on offense, so that was huge."

On how important the recent wins are even if they looked 'ugly' at times:
"We are worried about the singular focus. A win is a win. We will take it, no matter or however we get there. We will take it. The defense is playing lights out. You might call it ugly, but Coach Stefanski called it beautiful after the game. Complementary ball is what we did to accomplish that win today."

On if the recent wins have shown the grit and resilience that the team needs down the stretch:
"Yeah, I think when we have a singular focus and that singular mindset of just one game at a time and we can be pretty good. Not lose sight of the big picture, one game at a time but job is not finished yet."

RB Nick Chubb:
On how tough it was running the ball against Eagles defense:
"It was really tough. We have to give credit to them. They definitely came to play, and I thought they played extremely hard. There was really nothing there. Maybe only once or twice we had an opening, everything else was blocked up. They played hard."

On if he likes that Head Coach Kevin Stefanski has confidence to stick with the running game:
"Yeah, I love it. That is our identity. We know it is going to be tough when everyone knows we are a running team for the most part. I think (QB) Baker (Mayfield) and the receivers definitely help us out a lot. When we needed one of those guys to make a play, they made it."

On breaking off a big 54-yard run and his stiff arm on the play:
"It felt good. That is what we are about. We keep plugging, we keep plugging and keep hitting it. We know one is going to come sooner or later, and it came at a perfect time."

On RB Kareem Hunt's leap into end zone:
"It was amazing. I'm pretty sure he jumped from the 5-yard line and landed in the endzone. He is a great athlete and a great player. That is what you can expect when he is out there on the field."

On if he knew Hunt had the vertical ability to jump that high:
"Yeah, I remember when I was in college and watching him play. He was always leaping over guys so it was nothing new to me."

On how proud he is that the team responded to win despite not having DE Myles Garrett:
"Myles is a huge part of this team, and you can't replace him. I think the defense did step up to the plate. OV (DE Olivier Vernon) had 3 sacks, and they had a lot of turnovers. You can't ask for more. I think they did a great job."

On the Browns' perseverance and resiliency in in bad weather games:
"We like to say that we are a resilient team. I think that is showing now playing in these weathers and these conditions. I'm looking forward to going to Florida next week to get some sunshine."

On his vision on his longer runs and if it is a déjà vu feeling for those occurring at key moments late in games after wearing on an opposing defense:
"The runs are coming later in the game so it could be that. They played great all four quarters. I can't say we did anything great or better. I know that we made one good play on that, and it spit me out, which was great. I have to give credit to them. They played really hard."

On the Browns' ability to wear down the Eagles defense with him and Hunt sharing the workload:
"That is who we are. Me and Kareem are going to [rotate] at running back and run the ball hard. That is what we do. That is how our team is designed as an offense for the whole game. We wear teams down."

On the Ravens loss to the Titans today and the Browns currently being in second place in the AFC North:
"That is huge, but we still have to focus on ourselves and keep getting wins. We will worry about them when they come here."

On his success in bad weather games, given his comment about looking forward to sunshine in Florida next week:
"I guess it's working for me right now. I probably shouldn't want to change something, but maybe it would be better in nicer weather. Who knows?"

On Stefanski trying different strategies to establish the run game:
"You have to get a feel for it. I know the things we were running at first weren't really working for us. They came out ready for whatever we had, and they played extremely hard. There were a few play calls I knew we could run, but some they had figured out a little bit. We stayed, and that is what I like about Coach Stefanski. He is not going to shy away from the run. He kept going and running the same plays, and we had to execute it.

On what the Browns have accomplished with run game in the second half of games and the team expecting to be successful with it in the second half:
"That is exactly what we say coming out of halftime. We are going to keep wearing them down. We know sooner or later one should pop. The past few weeks, it has been popping later in the game. That is who we are. That is what we count on happening."

On specific adjustments the Browns made in the second half of the game:
"There were really no new adjustments. It was us just leaning on them and continuing to wear them down, trusting the run game until one pops."

CB Denzel Ward:
On facing Eagles QB Carson Wentz:
"We knew he had a very strong arm to make every throw. He had a lot of confidence. We knew that he would make a lot of throws to the field, as well. Just a strong arm. We knew that we were going to have to cover our guys and stay tight in coverage."

On the Browns defense stepping up to make big plays despite not having DE Myles Garrett:
"It says a lot. That has been our team all year just stepping up. Guys going down and next man in. A lot of guys have been stepping up making plays, and we needed that today, especially with Myles being out."

On LB Sione Takitaki's pick-six:
"That was huge. He returned it for a touchdown. That was a game-changer in the game, and we needed it. He stepped up big for us."

On whether Takitaki should give him the assist on the play due to his QB pressure:
"Oh yeah, he definitely has to give me the assist."

On the pick-six:
"I just saw that they had blocked down so I added on and blitzed and was able to get there in time. Sione made a great play and picked it off and returned it for a touchdown."

On whether he knew Takitaki would return it for a TD as soon as the INT happened:
"No I didn't see it. Once I looked back, I just saw him running down the sideline and then we were about to score."

On DE Oliver Vernon and DE Adrian Clayborn playing their best games of the year when the team needed it the most:
"It is huge. They made great plays during crucial moments of that game. Specifically like you said OV, he came in big for us and made plays."

On whether today felt like one of his better games:
"Yeah, I feel it was. I was just trying to stay consistent and do whatever I can to help my team win."

On what it meant to get the interception right after the pass interference penalty in the fourth quarter:
"It meant a lot. I felt that it was a terrible call, but it is all about just playing the next play. I felt that I did that on that play. Like I said, finding a way to help my team win and was able to come away with the takeaway."

On the Brown showing resiliency throughout the season and taking over second place in the AFC North with the win and Ravens loss today:
"It means a lot. Like you said, we are just taking one game at a time. We are not looking too far ahead. Come to the end of the season, we will see where we are and take it from there."

On whether there was a moment leading up to today's game where the Browns defense decided they would dedicate it to DE Myles Garrett and prove themselves:
"No, I think everybody was just focused on coming in and doing their job. That was just the main focus is doing what we have to do on that field. Everything else took care of itself. We were able to come out with the win. Definitely looking forward to getting Myles back whenever we can. He is obviously a big addition to our team. Guys stepped up today and made plays."

LB Sione Takitaki:
On his first career interception and INT-return TD:
"It felt really good. It felt awesome. First one in the NFL, and it was for a touchdown. It was great. We went in our blank coverage to the strong side, and I am standing beside to see the running back kind of flaring out so I know that is my coverage. I kind of widen out there with him. Once I go to attack because I see the QB (Eagles QB Carson Wentz) starting to throw it to him, it kind of got tipped in the air. I saw it went in the air and I am like, 'Alright, have to go up and get it.' Came down with it, a ton of daylight and ran to the touchdown. It felt great."

On being the Browns' game captain today:
"It felt great. You put in time throughout the week…. You go out there and we have a lot of great guys out there and we have a lot of great coaches. It was an honor."

On the Browns defense stepping up to make plays without DE Myles Garrett on the field:
"You guys know Myles. We all know Myles. Those other guys man, they are great athletes and great football players, too. They knew they had to step up. They have a lot of big names, too, and I feel like what kind of set us up is we were good on first and second down and we are able to get to those third-and-manageable downs and let loose, and let those guys go let loose. I thought we were great when we get to third down, and those obvious pass downs and those got after it."

On if the breakout performances from RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt energized the defense:
"For sure. That one-two punch with those two guys is great. We know what those two guys bring to the table. They kept after with it and the offense kept after it. The defense was energized. Complementary football."

On if he was tired on the way to the end zone on his INT-return TD:
"I would not say I was tired, but I was kind of like, 'I am actually going to score.' I felt like I should have sprinting a little bit, but it was a great feeling – a feeling you want to feel every time you step on that field. I was not tired. It was more exciting for me."

On if he was able to keep the football from his INT-TD:
"I did, yeah."

On if the Browns defense has that will to win and wearing opponents down late:
"Yeah, we are there. We are a tough, resilient team. I feel like things are working out, and that is football. That is how things are going to be in some games. I feel like we have a tight unit and a tight team."

On the Browns currently being second place in the AFC North and if that is meaningful to him:
"We still have to prepare and play the next game. Can't speak on now and can't pat our backs now, but enjoy this win for the rest of the day. Tomorrow we have to start over."

On if he felt today's performance was a long time coming for him:
"Yeah, I feel like I needed some plays to kind of… I train every day week in and week-out to go out there and make these splash plays and help the team. It felt good to finally get feelings back and continue to work, and grow to help my team in any way possible. Personally, we are building. Now I am going to continue to work and continue to try to make those big plays out there. That is why I play the game."

On DE Olivier Vernon filling a void with Garrett's absence at the line of scrimmage:
"It starts up front. Those guys were working so hard. OV, man, OV gets paid a lot of money and we know what he brings to the table. He is a great defensive end. Like I said earlier, we knew that Myles was going to be out and I feel like those guys are like, 'Let's get it going. We are going to make sure that we are going to hold our own.' I feel like they went out today and proved it. To go out there and dominate, OV had three sacks. AC (DE Adrian Clayborn) was balling. The rest of the D line were penetrating. I tip my hat to those guys because we know week in and week-out, it starts up front. O line and D line, they set the tempo for the rest of the game so it is good to see that."

DE Olivier Vernon:
On stepping up in DE Myles Garrett's place and recording three sacks and a safety:
"We all missed Myles. We wish he could have been out here playing. At the end of the day, everybody played as a team, made the stops when we had to and made the big plays when we had to. I am glad we are sitting at 7-3 right now."

On if he has had a game this good in his career before:
"Yeah, there are some highlights that I have had. At the end of the day, all I kept thinking was 'Please just win this game.' It really does not matter what you do inside the lines if you do not win. It was big that we got a big win, a big W against a good opponent. We are just trying to get it on a roll."

On if he was thinking 'safety all the way' on his sack in the end zone and what he saw as the play unfolded:
"Basically, we had a couple of good stops right before it happened and then ended up just making a play. We thought they were going to come with the gameplan trying to run it out of there. We did not think they were going to and pass, especially with the conditions that were going on with the weather. It just ended up going our way."

On if he had any conversations with Garrett about the Browns defense making plays in his absence:
"I sent him a text to get right. I had somebody close at home that caught COVID so I know how serious it is. I just shot him a text, 'Keep your head up and try to get better.' This thing is not anything to play around with for anybody to get. I am just glad we got the W and looking forward to next week."

On if the Browns defense had Garrett's absence in the back of their minds and knew they would have to step up and contribute:
"The mindset was going out there, everybody playing as a team and getting the W. I think that was everybody's mindset. We ended up doing that. Now, we are sitting at 7-3 so I think everybody is just happy at the moment and trying to build up this momentum."

On if the Browns DL got together before the game to talk about stepping up or if that goes unsaid:
"At the end of the day, the rest of the guys can make plays, as well. We have guys that can make plays. We had a good week of practice, and everybody knew what we needed to do. We came out and executed and everybody came together as a team, especially as a D line."

On if he is feeling healthier than he did in the first half of the season:
"Yeah, I feel a whole lot better. It is football. You are going to deal with nicks and everything like that. I am glad that the majority of our team is pretty healthy. That is what you need, especially coming towards the end of the line with the season and trying to make a run for the playoffs."

On if he thought he would be back with the Browns this season and why he agreed to a contract restructuring:
"At the end of the day, I saw this team had a lot of potential. How everything unfolded last year, it did not really go our way. We had too much talent, and we wasted last year. One thing that is hard to do is get a win, and the next hardest thing is get into the playoffs. I think my mindset and everybody else in this organization's mindset right now is to get into the playoffs and trying to make something. Just have to get into the tournament. It starts Week 1 and every week after that. Leading up to the season, just seeing the potential that we had and guys that are really hungry and guys that are tired of losing, I am just glad to be a part of it."

On playing in the rain and if those conditions favor pass rushers or the OL:
"I am from Miami so I love playing in the rain, minus the cold weather. It changed the aspect of the offense and what they try to run. It starts to change it to a more physical change. The offense tries to get it started with the run game and tries to get the ball moving and get the momentum going on their side. Credit to them, they came in here putting up a good fight, and we just ended up finishing it off and made the plays we needed to make. Just glad we got the win."

On if his familiarity with Eagles T Jason Peters helped today:
"Going into each week and going one on one, you want to win your one on ones no matter who it is. Me and Jason, we have had great battles, especially when I was in New York. Always respect and love him as player and as an opponent. Just try to do my job and guys have my back. We just pulled it out and got the win."

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