4 Browns who deserve the blame for blowout loss in playoffs

From the inconsistent play out of Jerome Ford to a struggling Greg Newsome, find out who underperformed in the Cleveland Browns Round 1 loss

Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns / Tim Warner/GettyImages
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2. Joe Flacco, QB

In no way is this a knock on Joe Flacco, who has been amazing in 2023. Signed in November, the 38-year-old took over late in the season and started five games. After losing to the Los Angeles Rams in his Cleveland Browns debut, Flacco reeled off four wins in a row. And he wasn't being carried by the defense either.

Flacco threw for more than 300 yards in each of their four wins and finished with 1,616 yards through the air and 13 touchdowns. The one concern, however, was his penchant for turning the ball over. During his five starts, Flacco had eight interceptions. Being a tenured veteran, he knew he couldn't throw the ball to the wrong team in the postseason and survive.

That's what ended up happening though as Flacco threw a pick-six on the first two possessions of the second half. Desperate to make something happen, Flacco and the Cleveland offense was throwing the ball while trailing 24-14 and that playing in Houston's hands.

While trying to escape pressure, Flacco threw a deep pass, although he might have been trying to get out of bounds, which was picked off by Steven Nelson. The safety, who got away with pass interference early in the game, took that one back 82 yards for a touchdown.

With the score now 31-14, the Browns were still trying to make something happen on the next series and Flacco again made a mistake. This time, he locked onto his target and linebacker Christian Harris stepped in front of the pass and went in from 36 yards out.

It was a frustrating way for Flacco to end his time with the Browns. Having said that, they might not have even been able to make it this far without him. Because of that, we'll always look back on Flacco Fever with fondness.