Browns drop another one: 3 takeaways from loss to the Bengals
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns continued their march toward a possible 0-16 season with Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Here are three takeaways from the game.
The Cleveland Browns gave it a good effort, for the most part, on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, but it was not enough as the Browns fell by a score of 30-16.
The loss drops the Browns to 0-11 on the season and 1-26 under head coach Hue Jackson (more on him in a moment), as the team continues to do just enough to keep things interesting for a while, only to always come up short.
Here are three quick takeaways from Cleveland’s seventh consecutive loss to the Bengals.
An offense in balance
The Browns still passed the ball too much (32 passes vs. 22 runs by the running backs) but for the most part the offense was as balanced as it had been for a while.
Running backs Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson combined to rush for 130 yards and average 5.9 yards per carry against the Bengals, which the Browns will take every week, while quarterback DeShone Kizer threw for 268 yards and avoided turning the ball over.
Kizer was only 18-of-31, however, although that 58 completion percentage was his highest since the game against the Tennessee Titans four weeks ago.
The Browns may have only found the end zone once on the day, but they did finish with 405 yards of offense, averaged six yards per play and did not turn the ball over. That may not have been enough to win, but it is something positive to build on.
Too many missed chances
One reason why the Browns were not able to get more out of the offense was due to several missed opportunities throughout the day.
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On the opening drive of the game, Kizer moved the Browns to a first-and-goal at the Cincinnati eight-yard line. But Crowell was tackled for a three-yard loss on first down, tight end David Njoku was called for a pass interference penalty on second down, and the Browns ultimately settled for a Zane Gonzalez field goal.
Gonzalez missed a field goal on the Browns second drive of the day, and Jackson inexplicably settled for a field goal at the end of the first half.
The Browns had to settle for another field goal on their opening drive of the second half when wide receiver Corey Coleman dropped what would have been a 29-yard touchdown pass from Kizer in the end zone.
Add it all up and that is 15 potential points that the Browns left on the field, and when you are a team that averages 15 points a game you can’t have that happen.
A record on the horizon
Sunday’s loss dropped Jackson’s record as head coach of the Browns to 1-26 since he took over in 2016.
That matches John McKay’s 40-year-old mark for the worst start for a head coach’s tenure with a team. McKay went 0-14 as head coach of the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976 and then followed it up by losing the first 12 games of the 1977 season.
With a loss next Sunday to the Los Angeles Chargers, Jackson will hold the record for futility all to himself and will be a strong candidate for the title of worst coach in the history of the NFL.
It is interesting to remember that, just two years after that horrible start, McKay had the Buccaneers playing in the NFC Championship Game.
Next: Browns fall to 0-11 after losing to Bengals
The Browns have been putting a solid foundation in place under the current front office, but Jackson’s bizarre play calls, continued clock mismanagement issues, inability to stop pointing fingers at everyone else for his mistakes, and jollying it up pregame with the opposing team’s backup quarterback makes it highly unlikely that he will be around long enough to match that particular area of McKay’s résumé