As we all know, the Cleveland Browns lost another game on Sunday. The game was totally winnable and the Browns had more than enough opportunities to put more points on the board. The Browns just couldn’t execute on scoring drives and that resulted in a 17-14 defeat. Shooting ourselves in the foot seems to be our forte.
On our second possession, the Browns put together a 13-play, 50-yard drive. They displayed a good mix of pass and run plays. They switched out Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson to perfection. The two backs gave us a nice change of pace and confused the defense. Unfortunately, a great drive ended in questionable goal line play calls. Crowell ran the ball up to the three-yard line on first-and-goal and missed a pass on second down. I actually liked the play, but the problem was the throw. The pass was behind Crowell and above his head. Kizer has to get the ball on target to his running back before the linebacker picks him up in coverage. It sounds simple enough, but it just didn’t happen.
Then, the unthinkable happened. The Browns ran an option play that resulted in a Kizer fumble on the pitch to Crowell, who should shoulder some of the blame. I didn’t like the play call here plus the quarterback has to make sure his back is on the same page as him and it didn’t feel like Crow was expected the pitch. Even if the Browns didn’t score, I would have been happier with a normal pitch or run up the middle. Heck, even a pass play. Anything but a turnover.
Luckily, the defense forced the Jets to punt and the game remained scoreless. Cleveland again displayed a combination of run and pass to march into Jets territory to the 32-yard line. Then, penalties marred the drive as a holding call and a false start pushed us back to the 47-yard line. Once again, the play calling comes into question. Hue Jackson called three straight pass plays, two incompletions and then a 13-yard catch and run for Duke Johnson. Zane Gonzalez ended up missing a 52-yard field goal wide left, but it should have been shorter.
Even when the Browns missed opportunities on offense, the defense stepped up. They forced an interception to give the offense another opportunity. The Browns orchestrated a 10-play, 45-yard drive into the red zone. Once again, questionable play calling at the 11-yard line. Kizer ran the ball on first down and followed that with an incomplete pass and an interception. Horrible pass. It was too inside, behind the receiver. That ball needs to be more towards the sidelines and not to mention, I think it was a horrible read. The safety was hanging out and jumped the route and the rest is history.
Once again, the defense came through and forced a three-and-out. The following drive was too dependent on the rookie quarterback. Pass after pass. He did move the ball 34 yards before the drive stifled and wouldn’t you guess it, Gonzalez missed a 39-yard field goal wide left. New York capitalized on that opportunity and scored three points before the half.
At halftime, Jackson made the decision to replace Kizer with Kevin Hogan and he instantly sparked the offense, composing a 10-play, 75-yards drive resulting in a touchdown and a 7-3 advantage. He quickly disappointed though when he threw a bonehead interception on the next possession and it led to a New York touchdown.
So down by three points, the Browns put together a nice 72-yard drive into the red zone early in the fourth quarter. With 13 minutes left, the Browns had a big decision to make on fourth-and-two at the Jets four-yard line. Kick the field goal and tie the game or go for the first down, possibly the touchdown and possibly the momentum for the win. I agreed with the call to go for it although I feel like the execution could have been better. The result was a one-yard gain by Crowell and turnover on downs. To add insult to injury, former Brown, Josh McCown marched downfield 97 yards and threw his second touchdown pass of the day to give his team a 17-7 lead.
Now, the Browns still had plenty of time with eight minutes left, but a three-and-out destroyed all hope. That and a mismanagement of timeouts. The Jets ran out some clock and we used our third and final timeout before they punted. Cleveland did manage a quick touchdown to bring the game within three points, but they couldn’t recover the onside kick and that’s all she wrote. Another loss under Hue Jackson’s belt.
Ultimately, the Cleveland Browns game plan needs to change or the play calling or the mentality or whatever else. Something’s got to give. Nothing seems to work so far for the rookie Kizer and Hogan seems to spark the offense, yet Hue seems to be riding DeShone’s coattails. Jackson needs to right this ship and fast. I mean, it is the job he gets paid for.
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