The Browns had every reason to be distracted before their Week 9 game against the Bengals. The lead-up to their Sunday afternoon contest was marred by drama between star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and the team.
Cleveland’s players stayed focused despite the noise surrounding Beckham and his imminent departure from the team. They dominated their divisional rival, winning 41-16 in Cincinnati.
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The Browns forced three turnovers and averaged 2.8 yards per play more than their opponent. After the game, Mayfield took time to praise his teammates, noting that he was “proud” of the effort they put forth after their “long week.”
“I trust the guys in this locker room and I truly mean it,” Mayfield told reporters. “When adversity hits, nobody flinches. It was a long week, I’d be lying if I said otherwise. I’m proud of these guys, how they were able to focus. We have a good group. We really do.”
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That said, Mayfield made it clear that he wasn’t taking a shot at Beckham with his comments.
“I really wish him well,” Mayfield said, per Scott Petrak of BrownsZone.com. “He’s a good friend of mine. Still haven’t talked but that doesn’t change that.”
Part of the drama between Beckham and the Browns was his relationship with Mayfield. Beckham’s father posted a video earlier in the week of Mayfield and Beckham failing to link up on numerous passes. Beckham remained silent after the video surfaced and caused a bit of strain between he and Mayfield.
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Nonetheless, it appears the quarterback is taking the high road and looking to move on.
Mayfield did well without Beckham. He completed 14 of 21 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns. He had a passer rating of 132.6 for the game, and it was a perfect 158.3 at halftime.
He was also able to connect with Beckham’s primary replacement, Donovan Peoples-Jones, for a 60-yard touchdown.
As such, it seems as if the Browns will be OK without OBJ. We’ll soon see if the receiver can find success in his next landing spot.