Browns: 3 takeaways from a frustrating loss to the Jets
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns fell to 0-5 on Sunday after losing to the New York Jets. Here are three things that contributed to the loss.
The Cleveland Browns lost on Sunday to the New York Jets to fall to 0-5 on the season.
The 17-14 defeat drops the Browns to 1-20 under head coach Hue Jackson and the season has quickly taken a turn for the worse.
The three-point deficit will allow the more lazy people in the room to blame the loss on the decision to bypass a field goal attempt in the fourth quarter with the Browns trailing 10-7. The Browns instead went for it on fourth down but were unable to convert a fourth-and-two from the Jets’ four-yard line.
Of course, than assumes that the game from that point forward would have played out exactly the same way — which is always a false play. And it excuses the defense for allowing quarterback Josh McCown to drive the Jets 97 yards for what turned into a game-clinching touchdown drive.
No, the Browns lost this game for far more reasons than not kicking a field goal.
Here are three things that stood out from the game that all contributed to the loss.
Red zone turnovers
The passed field goal attempt will get the headlines, but it was two previous trips into the red zone that actually doomed the Browns to failure.
In the first quarter the Browns had a third-and-goal at the New York three-yard line. Rather than do something conventional like run the ball or something, the Browns ran an option play and running back Isaiah Crowell fumbled quarterback DeShone Kizer’s pitch, with the Jets recovering.
Then, in the second quarter, the Browns had another third-and-goal, this time from the Jets’ four-yard line, but with only two wide receivers in the pattern, Kizer made a poor throw toward tight end Seth DeValve, which was intercepted by defensive back Marcus Maye.
The Browns now have turned the ball over six times in the red zone this season, and the two turnovers today had far more of an impact on the loss than not kicking a field goal.
Let the avoidable quarterback controversy begin
When Jackson named Kizer the starting quarterback, the hope was that he would stick with the rookie through thick and thin.
Well, that lasted until halftime of today’s game, as Jackson benched Kizer and turned the offense over to Kevin Hogan to start the second half.
Kizer wasn’t playing all that well — he was just eight-of-17 for 87 yards — and was doing the same kind of things he has done all year — holding onto the ball too long, not seeing open receivers, not being accurate — but the Browns were only trailing by three points at the time.
Hogan certainly looked better as he finished the day 16-of-19 for 194 yards and two touchdown passes (although the touchdowns had more to do with the abilities of tight end David Njoku and running back Duke Johnson than Hogan).
But why start Kizer if you are not going to let him continue to try and work his way through the rough times? We’re not necessarily opposed to the idea of sitting him for part of a game if things are going horribly wrong, we’re just not sure that halftime of today’s game qualifies.
As long as Jackson keeps Kizer as the starter then it may ultimately be not that big of a deal. Of course, by benching Kizer Jackson has opened us all up to a week of Browns “quarterback controversy” talk, which is going to be hard to excuse him for.
The defense was good … until the fourth quarter
The Browns could not have asked for a better first three quarters from their defense today.
It started on the first series when defensive end Myles Garrett had a sack on the first play of his NFL career. Garrett would get to McCown one more time on the game, as would linebacker James Burgess. Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah continued to make things happen and cornerback Jason McCourty had an interception.
More from Dawg Pound Daily
- How the Browns could maximize Nick Chubb in 2023
- Can Deshaun Watson get to Patrick Mahomes level for Cleveland Browns?
- 3 Cleveland Browns who should see an expanded role in 2023 and 1 who should not
- Is Marcus Davenport on the Browns radar in 2023?
- 5 Free agents from Super Bowl LVII Cleveland Browns should target
Without a little more than five minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Browns had held the Jets to one first down, 82 yards of total offense, 2.8 yards per play and three points.
Unfortunately, NFL games last four quarters.
The Jets would go on to score 14 more points to finish off the game, with the worst of it coming on the eight-play, 97-yard touchdown drive that sealed the game for the Jets.
It’s hard to place blame on a defense that only gave up 212 yards of total offense, held the opposition to four-of-12 on third down and 1.9 yards per carry.
But on a day when the offense is struggling to get out of its own way, the defense needs to find a way to not let Josh McCown beat you.
It’s a team game, so the defense has to carry its portion of the water for the final result.
Next: Browns drop to 0-5 in rough fasion
It is going to be a brutal week as the Browns prepare for a trip to Houston to face the Texans and rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson. Better buckle in, Browns fans.