The Cleveland Browns were defeated by the New York Jets Sunday, 31-28. It drops the Browns to 0-8 on the season.
Just when the Cleveland Browns start to give fans even the smallest amount of hope, it is quickly taken away before fans can realize what happened.
The Browns lost Sunday’s game by the score of 31-28, but a 20-7 halftime lead was held over the New York Jets. Ryan Fitzpatrick was atrocious and the Browns were competent on offense, making it seem like that elusive first win would finally be achieved.
That was not the case, as the Jets outscored the Browns 24-8 in the second half, with those eight points coming with just 12 seconds left in the game.
The return of Josh McCown was supposed to help this offense, and that was true in the first half. McCown led a touchdown drive to open the game, but it was all an elaborate ruse. He did finish with 341 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw two costly interceptions, both of which came in the fourth quarter when the Browns were down, 28-20.
It is hard to expect McCown, a career backup, to return from injury and be great, but he needs to avoid turning the ball over. He plays with the gunslinger mentality of throwing the ball deep to try to get that big play, but it is often into double or triple coverage. This mentality is what separates good quarterbacks from the great ones, and unfortunately it has been a recurring problem for McCown.
A lot of the blame can be placed on the defense, but only so many stops can be made when the offense turns the ball over twice in the fourth quarter. This is a young unit that cannot afford to keep coming back on the field so soon after forcing punts.
This latest loss drops the Browns to 0-8 on the season with the Dallas Cowboys coming to town next Sunday. It seems too early to begin the 0-16 talks, but that conversation is going to heat up after the Browns lost perhaps the most winnable game remaining on the schedule.
The run game was not a factor once again, but it was clear the Browns were focusing on the passing game early on. The weak offensive line going up against a tough front-seven also played into the focus on throwing the ball.
Hue Jackson is going to have a lot of questions to answer regarding clock management and the lack of success on both sides of the ball in the second half. The argument that this team isn’t built to win will come up, but blowing a 20-7 lead without any fight is inexcusable. This may not be Jackson’s fault entirely, but his team did not show up to play in the second half and that is a problem.
This team is only playing for pride at this point, so let’s see how they are able to respond next week against a great Cowboys team.