Browns build early lead but can't hold on in Kansas City
KANSAS CITY — The Browns threw the first few punches Sunday but ultimately couldn't keep the defending AFC Champions down long enough.
Cleveland, a little less than nine months removed from seeing its 2020 season come to an end at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs, controlled the first half and took a 12-point lead into the locker room before the Chiefs' high-flying offense erupted. Kansas City scored almost every time it had the ball in the second half to topple the Browns, 33-29, on a balmy season-opener at Arrowhead Stadium.
"We didn't play our best when it mattered and we didn't coach our best when it mattered," Stefanski said. "Versus a team like this, you've got to play a 60-minute game and we didn't do that.
"It's a 60-minute game and you have to play a 60-minute game. You don't get anything for playing a 30-minute game. Mentality-wise, we got beat, we got out-coached, got out-played. Great football team over there, I have a lot of respect for them and we're turning our attention to Houston."
Baker Mayfield navigated an offense that had its way through the air and on the ground for most of the first half before hitting some bumps in the second. He completed 21-of-28 passes for 321 yards but was intercepted on his final throw of the game, as Chiefs CB Mike Hughes stepped in front of a pass intended for Harrison Bryant to seal it.
"You have to execute critical moments," Mayfield said. "Nothing else matters before those moments. It always comes down to those three, four plays where you look back and say 'if we'd have done this differently, it would have worked.' I'm going to be hard on myself, but go back and attack this week."