Editor's note: Tony Grossi is a Cleveland Browns analyst for TheLandOnDemand.com and 850 ESPN Cleveland.
Takeaways from the day after another Browns loss in Pittsburgh …
Baker Mayfield should not miss any practice, much less the next game, because of the injury to his right hand at the end of the first half in Pittsburgh, coach Freddie Kitchens said.
“I think Baker does a good job of compartmentalizing through pain and getting to the game healthy,” Kitchens said. “He’ll be at practice and he’ll get his work done this week. He doesn’t like to miss practice.”
Mayfield injured the hand when it hit the face mask of rusher Bud Dupree following through on a throw downfield to Odell Beckham Jr. with seven seconds to go in the half.
Mayfield had X-rays on the hand during halftime, but the results weren’t known when Kitchens initially told CBS sideline reporter Evan Washburn he would prepare Garrett Gilbert to start the half.
When X-rays showed no fracture, Mayfield was fitted with a compression glove to keep swelling down and he didn’t miss a play in the second half.
Mayfield said after the game he didn’t know if he’d ever played with a glove on his throwing hand before. Mayfield said after the game the glove didn’t affect his throwing and Kitchens reiterated that opinion on Monday.
Before the injury, Mayfield was 10 of 17 for 98 yards and one touchdown, and was sacked once. After the injury, he was 8 of 15 for 98 yards, one interception, four sacks and a lost fumble.
Mayfield had three possessions in the fourth quarter. He drove the Browns to a field goal on the first to cut the lead to 20-13. The second one, which started at the Pittsburgh 30 after a Terrance Mitchell interception, ended in a sack out of field goal range. The last one ended in a Joe Haden interception at the Pittsburgh 38.
It was the fourth time this season Mayfield and the offense failed to mount a tying or winning drive at the end. The others were against the Rams, Seahawks and Broncos. He was successful against the Bills.
Mayfield now ranks 38th among NFL quarterbacks this season with a passer rating of 51.9 in the fourth quarter. He has completed 53.8 percent of his passes in the final quarter for three touchdowns and seven interceptions.
“I think every situation is different,” Kitchens said. “Every result is different from a standpoint of how you got to that result. He will continue to learn. He’s gotten better in a lot of areas. That’s one we’ll continue to work and continue to learn from. The only way you can learn is to be in them.”
Mea culpa: For the third time this year, Kitchens admitted he should have run the ball in a critical situation.
While the coach defended his decision to abandon the run after falling behind, 20-10, he lamented the play choices after the Mitchell interception and runback to the Steelers’ 30 with 7:18 to play.
Mayfield threw incomplete on a deep pass for Jarvis Landry on first down, made no gain on a short pass to Kareem Hunt on second down, and was sacked for eight yards on third down.
“We took a shot to Landry down the left side, a 50-50 ball,” Kitchens said. “In hindsight, I should have handed the ball off, see what happens, and play third down.”
Kitchens said he was pleased with the pass-run ratio in the first half (19 passes v. 17 runs to the backs), and with the third quarter. Kitchens said he ran “seven of 12 times” to start the second half, but it was actually five of 12 times, until Pittsburgh went up, 20-10, early in the fourth quarter.
Randall mystery: Kitchens would not elaborate on why safety Damarious Randall was left in Cleveland and would not confirm reports that Randall missed practice during the week.
“I’m not going to comment on why [Randall was inactive],” Kitchens said. “Sometimes you have to make decisions with 52 other guys. I don’t take those decisions lightly, because I know it potentially could affect the team. But sometimes when you make decisions like that it’s for 52 guys, as well.”
Kitchens said he thought rookie Sheldrick Redwine “did an excellent job in the middle of the field” in place of Randall.
As for Randall’s status going forward, Kitchens said, “His status going forward is he’ll come back this week and I’m assuming we’ll do everything we need to do to be on the field.
“Damarious has my trust. It has nothing to do with trust. I trust these guys when they show they’re trustworthy. I don’t have a problem with Damarious.”
T-shirt update: Kitchens cut short more questions about wearing the infamous Pittsburgh Started It T-shirt on Friday evening and having a photograph taken with a fan in it.
“I had a jacket over it. I shouldn’t have extended my arm to take the picture. That’s what I shouldn’t have done, so…” he said.
Steelers players said after the game that the T-shirt gave them extra motivation.
“If that’s what they take as motivation, of course I’m disappointed,” Kitchens said. “I know Mike [Tomlin] very well. They’re motivated by more than a T-shirt. We had a lot on the line there for that game. I don’t think the T-shirt put them over the top.”
Brownie bit: Kitchens said left tackle Greg Robinson remains in concussion protocol and he had no update on the status of cornerback Greedy Williams (shoulder).