INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Tempers are understandably going to be flaring after a brutal loss, and that was certainly the case following the Browns' 47-42 defeat to the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday.
There were plenty of reasons for the end result, from questionable play calling late to poor defense to even injuries. There were also some controversial calls made by the officials, and quarterback Baker Mayfield is not pulling any punches when it comes to his thoughts on their performance.
"Might as well just forward the fine letter," Mayfield told reporters before airing his specific grievances against the refs.
The fourth-year signal-caller took particular issue with the Browns' second-to-last offensive series, when they faced a second-and-9 from their own 15. According to Mayfield, wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones was shoved out of bounds by an LA defender while Rashard Higgins was also grabbed. If a pass interference flag had been thrown, it would've given Cleveland an automatic first down and they likely would've been able to run out the clock and preserve the win.
"We asked the ref on the sideline how [they] missed that call," Mayfield said. "There's two PIs on one play, they don't call it."
It wasn't the only time the "Zebras" were under the microscope. Midway through the fourth quarter, a fourth-down pass interference flag was thrown on corner A.J. Green even though video showed his jersey being grabbed by LA's Mike Williams. Later Myles Garrett appeared to have been held on a pass rush, but no penalty was called, and Garrett even had to briefly come out due to injury.
Finally, on the Browns' final offensive play, David Njoku appeared to be tackled on a Hail Mary Pass to the end zone. Instead, the well-placed ball landed incomplete, and the Chargers were able to take a knee and ice the game.
For what it's worth, Mayfield made it clear he and the rest of the team shouldered the ultimate blame for the loss, saying they "shouldn't have even been in that position." However, also made it clear the officiating didn't help matters.
"It's very frustrating when we didn't do our job enough to just take the ballgame away and we left it in the hands of somebody else," he stated. "We've got to be better on that."