The San Francisco 49ers planted two proverbial flags during their 31-3 dismantling of the visiting Cleveland Browns on Monday night. While the win planted the flag marking the 49ers as a legitimate NFC contender, San Francisco defensive end Nick Bosa's inside Ohio Stadium settled an old score between the former first-round picks.
While Cleveland's quarterback declined to elaborate on Bosa's celebration, Bosa, who racked up two sacks, a fumble recovery and three tackles for loss during Monday night's win, continued to have fun at Mayfield's expense during his postgame presser.
"I don't usually talk, but this game, he had it coming," said Bosa, who added that he was in Mayfield's ear throughout the game. "But he didn't say one word back so. I was just screaming his name, like 'Baker! Baker! You good? Come on, pick it up, we want a challenge.' Stuff like that. He was just looking at me."
"What's amazing, and annoying, was him not shaking hands at the beginning," Sherman told NFL.com's Michael Silver. "That's some college s---. It's ridiculous. We're all trying to get psyched up, but shaking hands with your opponent -- that's NFL etiquette. And when you pull bush league stuff, that's disrespectful to the game. And believe me, that's gonna get us fired up."
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Sherman then offered advice to Mayfield, who is taking his lumps this season after an impressive rookie campaign that saw him set the NFL record for touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback.
"Respect the game," Sherman said. "You can have rivals, but pay your respect in that moment -- especially when you're young.
"He hasn't earned anything in this league. How many games has he won? He's acting like he was the MVP last year. If [Patrick] Mahomes did that, it would be one thing. But he would never do that, because he has too much respect for the game. And when you see a guy who doesn't? You humble him every chance you get. Because eventually, he will have respect for the league -- or he'll be out of it."
Mayfield, to his credit, didn't make excuses for his and his team's uninspiring performance in Monday night's blowout loss, Cleveland's third loss in five games this season. Mayfield suffered through the worst game in his brief career, going just 8 of 22 for 100 yards with zero touchdowns and two picks. He was taken out of the game late in the fourth quarter to avoid further abuse by San Francisco's defense.
"You're not doing your job anytime you stop yourself which seems to be our biggest problem right now obviously," Mayfield said, via Cleveland.com's Scott Patsko. "When you do that against a team of that caliber, you're not going to have a lot of success."
How can the Browns correct their mistakes?
"We're going to look at the film," Mayfield said. "There's just a lack of focus. We'll see what it is when we watch the film. We'll be able to key in on some things and eliminate mistakes. That's what the good teams do."
While the 49ers strengthened their case as a team to be reckoned with, the Browns must quickly turn their attention to next Sunday's home game against the Seattle Seahawks, who are 4-1 and trying to keep pace with the 49ers in the NFC West division standings. Cleveland will then travel to New England, the AFC's only undefeated team.
Freddie Kitchens, who is the middle of this first season as the Browns' head coach, knows his team has its work cut out for it.
"Well, you know, you can't have mistakes," Kitchens said following Monday night's loss. "You can't have turnovers, you can't have drops, you can't have penalties. Offensively, that kind of summed us up. We just shot ourselves in the foot too many times, whether it be mental errors, drops, penalties, you know? It's very clear that, you know, we've got to do a better job mentally. We've got to do a better job coaching these guys. We've got to continue to work every day like it's the first day and coaching-wise, we've got to do a better job and keep putting these guys in position to make plays."