Cleveland Browns: Baker Mayfield Ends Game Wearing Sling But Vows to Play Thursday
The Cleveland Browns are battered and facing a short week heading into Thursday night's game in Denver.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield was wearing a sling on his non-throwing left shoulder following Sunday's 37-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Mayfield has been playing with a harness on his shoulder, which he originally injured in Week 2, and he was scheduled for an MRI on Monday. Case Keenum is Cleveland's backup quarterback, but Mayfield vowed to play against the Denver Broncos Thursday night with the Browns (3-3) riding a two-game losing streak.
"It's a huge challenge, short week, and we've got a bunch of guys banged up right now, but we have to be able to bounce back and respond," Mayfield said, via Jake Trotter of ESPN. "We're going to see what we're made of. Our backs are against the wall right now. And I like our chances."
The undefeated Cardinals (6-0) put a physical beating on the Browns, who lost running back Kareem Hunt to a calf injury. Hunt was carted off the field and scheduled for an MRI on Monday. While Hunt's injury is not thought to be season-ending, he is expected to miss "a little bit of time" according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, and it's unlikely Hunt will play Thursday.
The Browns were already without running back Nick Chubb (calf) and starting offensive tackles Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills Jr. due to injuries. The defeat dropped Cleveland into a third-place tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3) in the AFC North, and the Browns don't have a bye until Week 13, meaning they need to find a winning formula despite their mounting injuries.
"We're a 3-3 football team and we played like it," Head Coach Kevin Stefanski said via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. "We were just very, very average and that's my responsibility to get it fixed."
Pittsburgh Steelers: T.J. Watt Comes Up Huge Again
The Steelers have a bye in Week 7 and have climbed back to .500 after Sunday night's 23-20 overtime victory against the Seattle Seahawks.
The defensive star of the game was All-Pro outside linebacker T.J. Watt, who had two sacks in overtime and forced Geno Smith's fumble that set up Pittsburgh's game-winning field goal.
During his career, Watt has averaged more than a sack per game at Heinz Field.
The Steelers made Watt the league's highest-paid defensive player before the season and his play continues to pay dividends.
"That's how he's compensated," Head Coach Mike Tomlin said of Watt via Chris Adamski of TribLive.com. "I don't think anybody is surprised by his ability to deliver in those moments."
The Steelers will take a two-game winning streak into the bye, giving them extra time to prepare and rest before they visit the Browns in Week 8.
"We've got a lot of improvements to make, obviously, but boy it's good to win a game like that," Tomlin said via the Steelers' website.
"It's good to be at .500 as we push into this bye week and we can gather ourselves and look at some of the guys that we have working themselves back from injury."
Cincinnati Bengals: Back-to-Back Road Wins Before Heading to Baltimore
The Bengals (4-2) sit alone in second place in the division behind the Ravens (5-1), and the two teams will meet Sunday in Week 7 at M&T Bank Stadium.
Much of the focus will be on the two talented quarterbacks – Lamar Jackson and Joe Burrow. Jackson became the first quarterback to win 35 games before age 25 in Week 6, while Burrow's play is a major reason the Bengals believe they can reach the playoffs.
Cincinnati defeated the winless Detroit Lions, 34-11, as Burrow threw three touchdown passes. Head Coach Zac Taylor felt the win was significant because the Bengals didn't look past the Detroit and won their second straight road game for the first time since 2015. Burrow threw three touchdown passes against Detroit and the Bengals never trailed.
"That's the next step for this team," Taylor said via the team's website. "Just proud of the way the guys handled the week. They were focused. You just had the sense in pregame warmups that this was the kind of game our guys were going to play."
Burrow believes Cincinnati's best football this season is yet to come.
"I'm never going to be upset about a 34-point game when you're winning by as much as we did, but we do have to get some things corrected," Burrow said Ben Baby of ESPN.com. "And when we do, it's going to be scary."