Press Conference

Kevin Stefanski: "It is important to build off of these type of wins"

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski:
Opening statement:
"We will start with injuries. (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) got his knee there. He will have an MRI in the morning, and we will know more. Disappointed for him. He wanted to be out there very badly.

"Obviously, a great win for the team. It is important to build off of these type of wins. It is important that we make sure that we are continuing to do the things that help you win in this league. I think we have a lot of examples of us doing that. You are going to have to go win the game and a two-minute drive. That is what happens in this NFL. That is what good teams do. To see the way the quarterback (Baker Mayfield) responded in this game, early we were not doing anything – the plays were not very good and we just could not get a completion – and he rips off 20 straight [completions] so I just could not be more impressed with how he played, including that last throw there. The story of our season, guys stepping up, and you saw (WR) Donovan Peoples-Jones step up, and (WR) Rashard Higgins has done it every time he has been out there. Guys making plays. Defense fighting their rear ends off. It is not a fun outfit to have to play in that type of game, and they just keep coming at you. Credit to them, but again, a great team win."

On what changes QB Baker Mayfield made after the first quarter:
"I do not know. If I knew, I would have made sure I had that talk before the game. He is such a competitor. He does not give up. That first throw, we wanted to take a shot there. They made a nice play, a credit to them. He did not back down, and every time I looked at him on the sideline, he had that steely look in his eyes. He was not going back down. I think that is the story of Baker. There is nothing coming his way that he has not seen before. Really proud of how he responded."

On TE Harrison Bryant, WR Donovan Peoples-Jones and WR Rashard Higgins stepping up and making big plays at big moments today with TE Austin Hooper out and Beckham leaving the game early due to injury:
"That is right, and I think that is a credit to the players. Those guys, whether they are getting the reps, they have to know what they are doing. Odell goes out early, and those guys have to know where to line up. It is a credit to the players, and I think it is a credit to the coaches. (Pass game coordinator/wide receivers coach) Chad O'Shea does a great job with those receivers and making sure that they know that when we need them, they have to be ready. I think that is what those guys proved today."

On if this win does more for the team, given the way they were able to come back in a close, competitive game:
"You are going to play in these type of games every year in the NFL. You are going to have to come and win a game in a two-minute drive. I told the team last night, 'You might have to go win it on the last play of the game.' It has to be your mentality. To see them operate situationally was very impressive. Can we build off of that? Absolutely, there are a ton of things we can build off as long as we make sure that we are cleaning up in the areas that we need to clean up."

On his message to Mayfield before the game-winning drive:
"Just in those situations, you speak very matter of factly to each other. We talked about the situation – how many timeouts we had, which was none; how far we had to go; some passes we had coming up and just giving him some reminders on the drive. He was ready to operate."

On how impressive it was to see Peoples-Jones come up with big receptions and the game-winning catch at the end of the game, given Peoples-Jones had zero catches and limited offensive playing time entering the game:
"Rookie in his first extended action, pretty impressive. He has had to go in there, back to Dallas when (WR) KhaDarel Hodge went out during pregame, and he did not miss a beat. He went in there and lined up everywhere we wanted him to line up and did his job. I appreciate a lot of the guys on this team. They just do their job and do not say anything and just go about their business. Donovan definitely fits that to a T."

On if it is significant that Mayfield showed trust in Peoples-Jones with the target on the game-winning TD:
"Yeah, and I think Baker has great trust in all these guys. I think we spread the ball around. You saw Harrison score a touchdown down there, and David scored a touchdown. I think he has great faith and all these guys."

On Mayfield playing through a cracked rib and his toughness and performance today:
"We have been talking about it last week and talking about it this week, he is gutting it out. He is a tough, tough kid. I think all of you guys know that about him. That does not surprise me that he is able to push through. It is not easy. He works hard at it. He grinds through it. Again, that tells you the type of person we are dealing with here."

On if Beckham avoided an ACL injury:
"I am going to wait for the MRI before we know. I would not speculate."

On how both QBs battled in today's back-and-forth game and Bengals QB Joe Burrow's performance as a rookie:
"Battle is a good word. That is what it felt like. Guys were trading body blows and then went for the knockout punch there. To see those two young quarterbacks doing that, we have a ton of respect for their team and have a ton of respect for their quarterback based on our first game. We knew what type of challenges he would present."

On if the Browns could have potentially gotten in a hole following the rough start of the game and let the game snowball:
"I did not feel that from our guys. We were not connecting. We had a dropped screen that we really felt was set up well, and we dropped the ball. It is a long game. We know that. We talked about having to play for three hours-plus today. That is what it was going to take. We are not going to get down if we have a couple of plays that do not go our way early."

On his emotions during today's back-and-forth game:
"Honesty, I feel like we have been in these game like this. I think we have been down in a bunch of our games. We talk a lot about resiliency, how to act in those moments, how to carry yourself and how to think in those moments. I think that is nothing new to our guys. They understand that this is the National Football League and you are going to have to battle through it."

On if he altered play calls at all early in the game to help Mayfield establish a rhythm following a slow start to the game:
"I would agree with you, and the play caller needs to do a better job early to get him in that rhythm. I can do a better job."

On the difference between Mayfield's performance the first and second quarter and if Mayfield's injured rib was a factor:
"No, I think we had a couple of plays we liked and thought they had a chance. They did not. We kind of pivoted and went a different way. Again, that is something I take pride in making sure that I get our quarterbacks off to a good start, and I did not do that well enough today for him."

On WR Rashard Higgins taking advantage of his playing time and being a key contributor to today's win after being a healthy scratch for a few games early in the season:
"I would not discount him having a great attitude. At practice – he was a healthy scratch and that is how the numbers played out – he just went about his business and did his job. He was on special teams, and he has been giving a look. I think that is such a big part of this, knowing that his number was going to be called at some point. Another thing you can't discount is the rapport between him and the quarterback. Obviously, there is something there. He has a great feel for throwing to Hollywood. Again, I give great credit to the kid when earlier in the season he was not getting the reps that I am sure he wanted."

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