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Baker Mayfield knows his team's loss on Sunday doesn’t sit solely on the shoulders of the officials who called the game.
That, though, didn’t stop the Cleveland Browns quarterback from calling them out after their 47-42 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium — even though he knows the league will almost certainly hit him with a fine for doing so.
“Late in the game … might as well forward the fine letter now. We asked the ref on the sideline how the hell he missed that call,” Mayfield said, via The Athletic’s Zac Jackson. “They were shoving [receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones] out of bounds and then [receiver Rashard Higgins] gets grabbed, so there’s two PIs in one play. They didn’t call it, but we shouldn’t have even been in that position.”
On one hand, it’s easy to see why Mayfield is upset.
Their final attempt to win the game came down to a last-ditch effort, and there was plenty of contact in the end zone that could have warranted a flag.
— BURNT ORANGE (@BURNTORANGE_CO) October 11, 2021
Mayfield and others are also upset over a pass interference call on fourth down, which set up the Chargers for their game-winning touchdown. Cleveland cornerback A.J. Green was called for interference on a ball directed to Chargers receiver Mike Williams.
— Jon Doss (@JonDoss) October 10, 2021
That call, Myles Garrett said, was “terrible.”
#Browns Myles Garrett said the PI call at the end on A.J. Green was 'terrible.'
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) October 11, 2021
But, like Mayfield acknowledged, it’s not fair to blame just those plays — rightly called or not — for the loss.
“We left too many points on the field in the first half,” Mayfield said. “It’s very frustrating that we didn’t do our job well enough to just take the ballgame away. We left it in the hands of somebody else. We have to be better on that.”