The Browns harassed Mayfield for most of the game, sacking him four times and tipping five passes at the line of scrimmage.
The No. 1 overall draft pick in 2018 also fumbled two shotgun snaps, took a delay of game penalty and threw an interception that led to Cleveland’s first touchdown.
Mayfield kept his emotions mostly in check until early in the fourth quarter when — trailing 20-7 — he dropped back to pass, saw an opening and raced up the middle for a touchdown, and then celebrated by riffling the ball off the inside wall of the stadium.
Carolina’s first five possessions resulted in just 13 net yards.
Grant Delpit’s interception of Mayfield led to a 1-yard touchdown pass from Brissett to a wide open Hunt. The score came after Panthers cornerback C.J. Henderson essentially tackled Amari Cooper in the end zone before the ball arrived, giving Cleveland a first-and-goal at the 1.
Hunt’s 24-yard TD run gave Cleveland a 14-0 lead.
Mayfield appeared to get some of his mojo back on Carolina’s sixth possession, connecting on a 50-yard pass with Ian Thomas to set up a 1-yard touchdown leap by Christian McCaffrey to cut the lead in half.
But after Panthers new kicker Eddy Pineiro sent the kickoff out of bounds, the Browns were able to add a field goal to make it a 17-7 game at the half.