Browns drop another opener, fall to Jets 31-10


Sep 13, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) fumbles the ball after getting sacked by New York Jets linebacker Trevor Reilly (57) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

It was another opening day like so many before it for the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

The Browns dropped their NFL-record 11th opening day game, this time by a score of 31-10 to the New York Jets.

“(It is a) disappointing way to open the season. There’s no words to express that,” head coach Mike Pettine said, according to Northeast Ohio Media Group. “You invest so much in the opener, you overprepare for it … to lose the way we did, it’s difficult to swallow it.

“As I told the guys after, we own this. You turn the ball over five times … the detail stuff that I thought we had done a good job taking care of, we didn’t. There were a lot of little things that occurred that swung some plays.”

“Not good enough.” – Head coach Mike Pettine on the run defense

While all everyone will want to talk about in the coming days is the fact that Johnny Manziel replaced Josh McCown after McCown suffered a concussion on the Browns’ opening drive of the season, there is plenty more to take away from this game.

And little of it is good as far as the Browns are concerned.

This was a team loss in every way, as the Browns:

  • turned the ball over five times (leading to 21 points by the Jets),
  • allowed New York to rush for 154 yards (the Browns allowed 141.6 a game in 2014),
  • were just two-of-seven on third down after starting the game six-of-nine,
  • committed 12 penalties for 109 yards, many at the most inopportune time,
  • saw McCown and Manziel – the quarterbacks – lead the team in rushing.

It was quite the day.

The game actually started out nicely for the Browns, as after forcing the Jets to punt on their opening possession, McCown and the offense took over at their own nine-yard line.

All McCown did from there is lead a 17-play, 90-yard drive while completing five-of-eight passes for 49 yards. The Browns were looking good as they were mixing the run and the pass with good results.

Unfortunately, on a third-and-goal from the New York 14 that would turn out to be the final play of the drive, McCown fumbled while scrambling toward the end zone, not only turning the ball over, but also getting knocked out of the game with a concussion.

Manziel took over for the rest of the game and, on his first offensive series, hit Travis Benjamin for a  54-yard touchdown pass.

Unfortunately, there was still an entire game to be played and it only went down hill from there for the Browns on both sides of the ball.

Following the touchdown drive, the Browns offense had eight drives and only put up three points. They punted twice, turned the ball over three times (an interception and a pair of Manziel fumbles), and had a series end with a turnover on downs.

Going back to last season, Manziel has now been the quarterback for 22 offensive drives and led the Browns to a total of 13 points.

For the game, Manziel finished 13-of-24 for 182 yards, adding another 35 on the ground, with a quarterback rating of 75.3. He certainly looked better at times than he did last season, but there were plenty of times where it was clear that Manziel still has a long way to go.

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But any positive steps, even if they are baby steps, are good when it comes to Manziel.

“I think that’s tough for any No. 2 quarterback who has to come in and play three quarters … I thought he did some good things,” Pettine said. “The throw to Travis (Benjamin) was outstanding … But he’s got to be more protective of the ball. We can’t turn the ball over and expect to win. But overall, for coming in cold, he did some good things and there were some things he will regret.”

Not so good was the performance of Isaiah Crowell, who rushed 12 times for all of 20 yards. The continues a disturbing trend for Crowell that dates back to the Buffalo game of last season, as the Browns’ presumed No. 1 running back is averaging just 2.59 yards per carry over his past six games.

The defense was just as suspect, as the Browns allowed Chris Ivory to run for two touchdowns, never got close to sacking quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (who was 15-of-24 for 179 yards and two touchdowns), and saw the Jets score on four of their six trips into the red zone.

It’s a new year with new players, new uniforms and new hope.

But for yet another opening Sunday, it was the same old Browns.

What do you think, Browns fans? Anything positive to take from today’s game?

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