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Browns pull Baker Mayfield for Case Keenum during second half against Steelers

Ken Blaze / USA TODAY Sports Baker Mayfield, who went into Sunday’s game dealing with a chest injury, exited the Browns’ road game against the Steelers with about a minute remaining in the third quarter and Cleveland trailing, 24-7. Mayfield was replaced by Case Keenum, who signed with the Browns during the offseason. The Browns ultimately…

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
Ken Blaze / USA TODAY Sports

Baker Mayfield, who went into Sunday’s game dealing with a chest injury, exited the Browns‘ road game against the Steelers with about a minute remaining in the third quarter and Cleveland trailing, 24-7. Mayfield was replaced by Case Keenum, who signed with the Browns during the offseason. The Browns ultimately lost, 38-7. 

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said after the game that the decision to pull Mayfield was strictly for his health and not a byproduct of his play. Stefanski added that Mayfield will be the Browns’ starting quarterback next Sunday in Cincinnati if he is healthy, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com

Mayfield, who sustained his chest injury during the Browns’ Week 5 win over the Colts, was sacked four times (two by Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree) while getting hit on numerous other occasions before getting pulled on Sunday. The constant pressure from Pittsburgh’s pass rush also resulted in two Mayfield interceptions that included a 33-yard pick-six by Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, which extended Pittsburgh’s lead to 10-0 in the first quarter. An interception by cornerback Cameron Sutton on the Browns’ ensuing possession set up a three-yard touchdown run by James Conner. Mayfield, after the Steelers stretched their lead to 24-0, did get the Browns on the board when he hit Rashard Higgins for a 13-yard score just before halftime. 

The Browns were unable to ride that momentum into more points, however, as Cleveland was held to minus eight total yards on its first two drives of the third quarter before pulling Mayfield, who finished 10-of-19 for 119 yards. 

While the Browns’ offense struggled, the Steelers’ offense continued on their current roll, as rookie Chase Claypool’s and running back Benny Snell scored rushing touchdowns. The Steelers are now 5-0 and atop the AFC North, while the Browns will look to improve to 5-2 with a win over the Bengals next Sunday. 

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