Browns fall to 0-7 after overtime loss to the Titans
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns fell to 0-7 on the season Sunday as they dropped the game to the Tennessee Titans in overtime.
The Cleveland Browns gave it a good effort on Sunday but ultimately came up short in a 12-9 overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Actually, we should amend that. The Browns defense gave a good effort, but we’re not sure what the offense is doing right now.
Oh, and left tackle Joe Thomas suffered a triceps injury that forced him out of the game and revealed what is going to be an ugly reality for the Browns at left tackle. The injury ended Thomas’ consecutive snap streak at 10,363, which had begun with the first play of his rookie year.
For the second time in the past three games, head coach Hue Jackson benched rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer during a three-point game. Kizer was not playing well – 12-of-20 for 114 yards, two interceptions and a quarterback rating of 36.2 – but he was also not doing anything that we haven’t seen him do all season.
Which is why it was a bit odd to see Jackson pull Kizer barely one half after reinserting him as the starting quarterback.
Cody Kessler entered the game and immediately drove the Browns 70 yards for a game-tying field goal by Zane Gonzalez.
The Titans answered back to regain the lead on a Ryan Succop field goal and the Kessler failed to get anything going on offense. Things were especially bad on his third series as he overthrew tight end David Njoku for an interception.
The defense held, however, and given a reprieve Kessler drove the Browns 31 yards in 10 plays, setting up Gonzalez for a 54-yard field goal that sent the game into overtime.
Cleveland would have the ball twice in the extra session, but went three plays for zero yards and three plays for negative 10 yards as Kessler could not get anything going while being harassed by a Tennessee defense that took full advantage of Thomas being out.
Succop finally sent everyone home by converting a 47-yard field goal just after the two-minute warning. (And despite what you may read or hear, Jackson did not “ice” Succop with a time out before the kick. It was the two-minute warning that stopped the play.)
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The quarterback situation continues to be a mess for the Browns, as Kessler finished 10-of-19 for 121 yards, an interception, two sacks and a quarterback rating of 50.5. Kizer and Kessler combined to convert just three of 13 on third down.
In a game where the Browns were either tied or trailed by no more than three points, Jackson decided that it was a good idea to throw the ball 39 times. Jackson also raised new questions about what the Browns are going to do with the quarterback position.
On Friday, he said the Browns were going to find out what they have in Kizer “over the next several weeks” and then benched him early in the third quarter. There are not any good alternative options on the roster, but it’s hard to see how Jackson can go back to Kizer.
There were a few bright spots.
The Titans came into the game averaging more than 24 points and almost 138 rushing yards per game. But the Browns held them 12 points and 80 rushing yards, which we’ll take every week.
Running back Duke Johnson and tight end David Njoku continued to put to test the narrative that the Browns have “no playmakers” as they combined for 129 of the 284 yards of total offense the Browns had on the day.
And … nope, that’s about it for the bright spots.
The Browns travel to London next week to take on the Minnesota Vikings before finally reaching their bye week. Who will be running the offense is a complete mystery, although it may not really matter.
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And while everyone will be making the trip later this week to London, another day like today and there is a chance that not everyone will be coming back as an employee of the Cleveland Browns.