Cleveland Browns acting head Mike Priefer was happy for himself and all the Browns fans after the team won their first playoff game since 1994. Priefer, the Browns' offensive coordinator who filled in for Kevin Stefanski as acting head coach, did his job extremely well as the Browns surprised the Pittsburgh Steelers 48-37 in the wild-card round.
"I want to congratulate our fans -- I grew up one of them," said Browns special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer, a Cleveland native, who filled in for Kevin Stefanski as acting head coach on Sunday after Stefanski tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
"I know what this means." Prior to the game, Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster took a shot at the Browns. "I think they're still the same Browns teams I play every year," Smith-Schuster said.
"I think they're nameless gray faces. They have a couple good players on their team, but at the end of the day, like, I don't know. The Browns is the Browns. They're a good team, but I'm just happy we're playing them again."
The Browns heard Smith-Schuster and responded
"We believe in the people in this room no matter what is going on," said Browns quarterback Mayfield, when asked after the game about the Smith-Schuster quote. "We knew that everybody was counting us out.
We knew what mentality we were going to have, and it's just to cut it loose ... because no one believed in us besides us." The Browns dominated the Steelers as they got off to an early 28-0 lead in the first quarter.
After the game, Smith-Schuster gave credit to the Browns for their performance. "They came out and they played a hell of a game," Smith-Schuster said of the Browns. "You know, there's been games where we feel we lose them, and today wasn't our night.
And hopefully, the same Browns will show up next week against the same opponent and go out and do the same thing they did tonight and have a hell of a game." Browns quarterback Mayfield went 21-of-34 for 263 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
"We're a team, we stick together, and to have those guys there in our celebration was great," Mayfield said. "But the best thing about it was the mentality of everybody saying, we didn't want to just win this game.
It's a stepping stone to where we want to go. ... Nobody here is satisfied yet."