Cleveland Browns: 3 takeaways from the overtime loss to the Titans

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 22: Cody Kessler #6 of the Cleveland Browns throws the ball in the third quarter against the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 22: Cody Kessler #6 of the Cleveland Browns throws the ball in the third quarter against the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Browns didn’t play an awful game against the Tennessee Titans, but the final result was still a loss. Here are three things that stood out.

I have reached the point where I am not even upset when the Cleveland Browns lose.

This team has done nothing the past two seasons to inspire any confidence in the fans, and today’s loss to the Tennessee Titans was another example of that.

The defense played an amazing game, yet turnovers and penalties on offense derailed any hope of even scoring a touchdown in the 12-9 loss. DeShone Kizer continued to make the same mistakes he has made all season, leading to him being benched yet again, this time for Cody Kessler.

Kessler didn’t even dress for the first six weeks of the season, showing just how dysfunctional things have become and it is not even Halloween yet.

The Browns are now 0-7 with a game in London set for next Sunday. Then comes the bye week that will have everyone wondering if changes will be made.

But before we have all those fun conversations, let’s take a look at what stood out from the latest loss.

Thomas goes down

Seeing Joe Thomas writhing in pain was an odd sight. It almost didn’t seem real.

Once Thomas left the game, it was the first time fans haven’t seen him on the field for a single play since the end of the 2006 season.

His long-term health is the most important thing, but it stinks to see this streak die just because it was a testament to how great Joe Thomas has been, even when the team has been so bad. This streak ending doesn’t diminish his legacy at all, but it is hard not to be upset when seeing him in pain after he has given so much to this team since 2007.

More information is supposed to come out Monday, so hopefully the diagnosis isn’t too bad. Nine more games without Thomas at left tackle could spell doom for whoever lines up at quarterback.

Dysfunction at the most important position

Seeing Cody Kessler on the field this afternoon was a welcome sight, and that’s a problem.

DeShone Kizer was benched yet again after throwing two interceptions, including one that was picked off inside the red zone, although the ball was snapped on the Titans’ 28-yard line.

Hue Jackson seems to be about done with these turnovers, and any hope of Kizer magically turning things around after one week off seemed to be wishful thinking.

Kessler came in and played well, but it is hard to expect too much from him after he was not even active until this week. And after his performance today, Jackson has a tough decision to make.

He can continue to start Kizer and pull him if he keeps turning the ball over, or he can go to Kessler even though the second-year player wasn’t doing well enough to even dress for the first six games. Kevin Hogan looked awful in Houston, so starting him seems out of the question.

The situation is trickier because Jackson needs to pick up a win before he can focus on developing Kizer. If the team had a victory or two now, Jackson wouldn’t be so quick to pull the rookie for his mistakes.

This is just bad news overall, and the potential absence of Joe Thomas will only make things more difficult.

The defense showed up to play

While the offense could barely muster three field goals, the defense had a great afternoon.

The Titans only put up 12 points, finishing with 269 total yards. The Browns defense even forced a Delanie Walker fumble, although we know the offense couldn’t capitalize on the takeaway.

This success came without both Jabrill Peppers and Jason McCourty on the field, so it will be interesting to look at the film further and see if any plays really stood out, which could lead to some small changes moving forward.

The offense managed to turn the ball over three times and the Browns finished with 12 penalties for 81 yards, making this defensive performance that much more impressive, but also more frustrating.

Next: Browns fall to 0-7

A loss always stings, but this game will stand out at the end of the year as one that got away if the team does finish 0-16 and the sky indeed falls.