3 plays that changed the game in Browns loss to Bengals

Bengals vs Browns Ja'Marr Chase. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Bengals vs Browns Ja'Marr Chase. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports /

Browns game-changing play No. 1: Jacoby Brissett’s misfire

For those who have an issue with Kevin Stefanski calling plays, Sunday had to be very infuriating. The primary argument against him is that he sometimes refuses to take the points when available, and also gets too cute.

Each of those scenarios took place on the opening drive of the game for Cleveland. They had forced a punt after a three-and-out, then moved the ball 51 yards. However, they found themselves facing a fourth-and-one from the Cincinnati 25.

They could have trotted out Cade York for the 42-yard field goal but they instead elected to go for it. And they also decided it was best to bring in Jacoby Brissett, who has been the king of quarterback sneaks this season.

Stefanski hoped to catch the Bengals cheating due to Brissett’s success with the sneak as he instead dialed up a pass to the end zone — and it should have worked. Donovan Peoples-Jones was wide open for the touchdown but Brissett simply misfired.

This sums up how things go for a play-caller. Had Brissett been accurate, the Browns would be up 7-0 and everyone would be praising Stefanski for having the guts to dial that up. But since Brissett didn’t come through, the narrative changed and suddenly the call was terrible.

Sadly, people get play calling and execution confused and put the blame on the wrong person. But no matter how you classify this one, it was a play that swung the momentum in Cincinnati’s favor.