Carolina Panthers' Baker Mayfield Fumbles His Chance at Revenge in Loss to Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns got the better of their former quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Carolina Panthers in a closely contested Week 1 matchup on Sunday. After a sloppy first three quarters that saw them trail 20-7, the Panthers stormed back in the fourth quarter, scoring 17 points and even kicking a go-ahead field goal with 1:17 left in regulation. But the Browns snuck in a 58-yard kick between the posts in the waning seconds of the game and snuck away with the 26-24 win.

Mayfield opened his matchup against the team that drafted him first overall in 2018 with a serious case of the jitters, throwing a first-half interception and fumbling an absurd four times. Thankfully, the Panthers fell on every single one of those bouncing balls, otherwise the game could have quickly gotten out of hand. To his credit, Mayfield eventually found his groove in the fourth, running for a touchdown and uncorking a 75-yard bomb to Robby Anderson for another through the air. Conservative play-calling on their final drive came back to bite the Panthers: rather than try for a touchdown to go up five, the Browns ran on 2nd and 10 and then 3rd and 10 deep in Browns territory, settling for a field goal.
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The Browns had their share of ugly play in the win. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett struggled badly, throwing for a mere 147 yards on his 34 pass attempts, but at least he avoided turnovers. Thankfully, the Browns runners delivered in a huge way, rumbling to 217 yards on 39 rushes, and the defense pitched in with four sacks and 2.84 yards allowed in the running game. In the end, kicker Cade York was the hero of the day: he nailed a 58-yard field goal with only 18 seconds left in regulation to preserve the win.

Looking ahead to Week 2, the Cleveland Browns will host the beat-up New York Jets, and the Carolina Panthers will travel to face the New York Giants. 

Photo Credit: © Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports