OAKLAND — Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield entered the Black Hole for his NFL regular-season starting debut and left haunted by crucial mistakes.
The Browns flirted with their first winning streak since 2014, but fell 45-42 in overtime to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at Oakland Alameda-County Coliseum.
Mayfield went 21-of-41 passing for 295 yards and two touchdowns with a rating of 70.7. He lost two fumbles, and two of his passes were intercepted.
The No. 1 overall pick in April's draft, Mayfield became the 30th quarterback to start for the Browns since 1999. Only two of those 30 have won their first start with the team: Jeff Garcia (2004) and Brian Hoyer (2013).
The Browns ended their 19-game winless streak Sept. 20 when Mayfield came off the bench after quarterback Tyrod Taylor suffered a concussion late in the first half and helped the Browns rally from a 14-0 deficit against the New York Jets on "Thursday Night Football."
But by falling to the Raiders (1-3), the Browns Browns (1-2-1) lost their 23rd consecutive road game and their 36th game in a row on a Sunday.
During the first series of overtime, Browns linebacker Jamie Collins had a sack on third-and-3 from Cleveland's 28 for a 4-yard loss. The next play, Raiders kicker Matt McCrane missed a 50-yard field goal wide left with 6:10 left in overtime.
The then Browns went three-and-out when Mayfield's deep third-down pass intended for running back Duke Johnson was broken up by cornerback Rashaan Melvin.
After a punt, the Raiders got the ball back at their 19 with 5:27 left. They marched to the Browns 11, where McCrane made a 29-yard field goal to win the game with 1:46 left in overtime.
The Browns bolstered their lead to 20-14 with 9:22 left in the third quarter when kicker Greg Joseph made a 28-yard field goal at end of 11-play, 65-yard drive, the first one of the second half.
The next series, free safety Damarious Randall intercepted a deep pass Raiders quarterback Derek Carr intended for receiver Martavis Bryant, who was closely covered by cornerback E.J. Gaines, and returned it 50 yards with 8:17 left in the third quarter.
Two plays later, Mayfield threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jarvis Landry, who showed great skill to get his feet inbounds in the back left corner of the end zone behind the coverage of cornerback Rashaan Melvin. Johnson then rushed for a successful two-point conversion to give the Browns a 28-14 lead with 7:26 left in the third quarter.
The Browns blew their lead, though. Rookie Maurice Hurst strip-sacked Mayfield, and fellow defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins recovered the fumble at Cleveland's 7. Three plays later, Carr connected with tight end Jared Cook for a 7-yard touchdown, allowing the Raiders to trim the Browns' lead to 28-21 with 5:34 left in the third quarter.
The Browns failed to answer, going three-and-out with Johnson dropping a pass on third down. The Browns dropped at least eight of Mayfield's passes.
The Raiders then drove to cut the Browns' lead to 28-24 with McCrane's 29-yard field goal with 14:14 left in the fourth quarter.
Two plays later, Mayfield wasn't ready for center JC Tretter's snap, resulting in a fumble on the exchange that the Raiders recovered at the Browns 20 with 13:26 left. The Raiders capitalized with Carr's 19-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jordy Nelson, capturing a 31-28 lead with 12:46 left in the fourth quarter.
Receiver Dwayne Harris returned a punt 49 yards after the Browns went three-and-out, and McCrane made a 44-yard field goal to build a 34-28 lead for the Raiders with 10:46 left in the fourth quarter.
The Browns, however, fired back. On second-and-9 at the Browns 40, Mayfield connected with rookie receiver Antonio Callaway for a 59-yard catch-and-run, setting up Carlos Hyde's 1-yard rushing touchdown. Greg Joseph made the extra-point kick to give the Browns a 35-34 lead with 8:07 left in the fourth quarter.
The Browns got a stop on defense when defensive end Myles Garrett and rookie linebacker Genard Avery split a sack. Three plays after the Raiders punted, rookie running back Nick Chubb broke loose for a 41-yard rushing touchdown to give the Browns a 42-34 lead with 4:20 left.
The Raiders countered by marching inside the Browns 10. But on fourth-and-8 from the 9, Carr's pass intended for receiver Amari Cooper fell incomplete in the end zone with 1:51 remaining.
The Raiders, though, got the ball back with 1:28 left after a three-and-out by the Browns and tied the score 42-42 with a six-play, 53-yard scoring drive. Carr and Cook connected for a 7-yard touchdown pass with 30 seconds left. Receiver Jordy Nelson then ran a fade route and caught a two-point pass from Carr over cornerback TJ Carrie.
The Browns got the ball back with 30 seconds left and advanced to the Raiders 49, but Mayfield had a deep pass intercepted by safety Reggie Nelson to end regulation.
Mayfield bounced back from an interception the Raiders returned for a touchdown early in the game and guided the Browns to a 17-14 halftime lead.
The Raiders struck first with a pick-six of Mayfield during the Browns' second possession and seized a 7-0 lead with 10:01 left in the first quarter. Callaway slipped while running his route, Mayfield's pass deflected off Callaway's hands and it was intercepted by rookie cornerback Gareon Conley. A Massillon native, Conley returned the interception 36 yards for a touchdown.
Mayfield and Co. fought back with a 15-play, 68-yard during the ensuing series, but they missed golden opportunities to score a touchdown. On second-and-20 from the Browns 47-yard line, Mayfield threw a deep pass to Callaway, but the receiver couldn't haul it in as he dived in the front of the end zone.
The Browns still advanced to the 1, but Mayfield's pass to receiver Jarvis Landry was off target in the end zone on first down, running back Carlos Hyde was stuffed for no gain on second down and Mayfield's shovel pass to Callaway resulted in a 6-yard loss on third down. The Browns settled for Joseph's 25-yard field goal, which trimmed their deficit to 7-3 with two minutes left in the opening quarter.
A play after McCrane missed a 47-yard field goal wide left with 12:46 left in the second quarter, Chubb ripped off a 63-yard touchdown run to give the Browns a 9-7 lead with 12:35 remaining in the first half. The Browns attempted a two-point play, but it failed when Callaway dropped a pass from Mayfield in the end zone.
The Raiders stalled on the next series after a Marshawn Lynch run was prematurely whistled dead by the officials and Carr's pass to receiver Jordy Nelson fell incomplete on third-and-8 from the 27. Browns cornerback Terrance Mitchell suffered a fractured right forearm as he landed while covering Nelson with 11:05 left in the second quarter. Mitchell was carted off the sideline and to the locker room with his arm in an air cast, and the Browns later announced he would not return to the game.
The Browns then extended their lead to 17-7 with a four-play, 70-yard drive. Mayfield threw his first career touchdown pass when he connected with tight end Darren Fells for a 49-yard catch-and-run. Johnson rushed for a successful two-point conversion with nine minutes left in the first half.
The Raiders trimmed their deficit to 17-14 when Carr finished an eight-play, 75-yard drive with an 8-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Cooper with 4:30 left in the second quarter.
With 1:53 left in the second quarter, the Raiders got the ball back and marched to the Browns 35. But cornerback E.J. Gaines, the injury replacement for Mitchell, intercepted a Carr pass that deflected off the hands of Cook at the Browns 15 with 23 seconds remaining in the first half and preserved Cleveland's 3-point halftime advantage.
Nate Ulrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his Browns coverage at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ByNateUlrich and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.