One quarter derailed the Browns attempt for their first win of the season. The Cleveland Browns lost to the previously winless Indianapolis Colts on the road, 31-28. The Browns put together one of the worst quarters I have ever seen in today’s second quarter. Cleveland attempted to comeback from a 21-point second quarter deficit, but the comeback came up short. The Browns actually outgained the Colts in total yards, 346 to 335 yards. But, the Browns’ second quarter performance has left them still looking for win No. 1.
The first quarter can be summed up with one word, almost. The Browns had a potential big pass play by tight end Seth DeValve, but the play was called back because of a pick DeValve made on a Colts defender. Besides that lost opportunity, the Browns offense struggled to move the ball consistently in the quarter. Almost also applied to the Browns defense. Especially on the Colts final drive of the quarter, the Browns had a couple of almost sacks that would have derailed the Indianapolis drive. But almost was not enough as the Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett led his offense to a touchdown capped off by a touchdown run by the young quarterback. The Browns left the first quarter trailing the Colts 7-0.
Embarrassing would be the word to describe the defensive performance in the second quarter. After the Browns offense tied the game up on their first drive of the quarter, the Browns defense decided to make Brissett look like an All-Pro for a quarter. Brissett led three of the team’s four drives (the final one was just a kneel down) to a touchdown, bursting the Colts lead to 28-7. Jabrill Peppers played the worst quarter of his young career, making Greg Williams decision to put him as a deep safety continually head scratching. It was the Brissett-T.Y. Hilton show. Brissett finished the half 9 of 12 for 206 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing four times for 19 yards and two touchdowns. Hilton caught five passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. The Browns salvaged a little at the end of the half when Kizer led the offense to a touchdown in just over two minutes. The Browns trailed 28-14 at half.
Mistakes and missed opportunities killed the Browns in the third quarter. The Browns completely outplayed the Colts in the quarter, but big mistakes kept the Browns gaining any ground on Indianapolis. The Browns defense finally woke up and was able to stop the Colts offense, giving the young offense a chance to come back. But, Kizer and the offense let those opportunities go out the window. Kizer threw two interceptions on two drives that could have netted them points, including one in the redzone. The unit also was hurt by two big offensive pass interference penalties that negated positive plays. After all of that, the Brown still trailed 28-14 going into the fourth.
The Colts added an early fourth quarter field goal that seemed to put the game to bed. But, Kizer and the offense were not done. Kizer led two straight touchdowns drives that cut the deficit to 31-28. The offense put together a nice aerial display to make the game interesting. The Browns attempted to onside the ensuing kickoff with just over two minutes to play, but the attempt flopped and the Colts picked up the ball. Even with the failed onside, the Browns got the ball back with just over 20 seconds to go in the game. Alas, Kizer could not put together a miracle. The Browns last second effort ended with Kizer’s third interception of the game. The comeback comes up short with the Browns falling 31-28 to the Colts.
The team’s second quarter performance was putrid to say the least and it was stirred up by horrible coaching decisions by Hue Jackson and Gregg Williams. On offense, the Browns were once again pass happy with no consistent run game to speak of. Jackson once again put the weight of the entire offense on the back of the rookie quarterback. He made nothing easy for Kizer. On defense, Williams’ need to put Peppers as the deep safety hurt the team. Peppers took bad angles in the second quarter that allowed Brissett to throw like he was Peyton Manning. Peppers’ game is not best suited as a rangy deep safety, but rather a safety who plays downhill and is around the ball. That needs to change. The coaches put the Browns in a bad position and the Browns players’ bad performance compounded it, resulting in the horrible second quarter that put the Browns behind the eight ball the entire game.
Kizer finished the game completing 22 of 47 for 242 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, along with a rushing touchdown. His leading receiver was Duke Johnson, who caught six passes for 81 yards. Johnson added a 23 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
The Browns will look to win their first game of the season next week when the Cincinnati Bengals come to FirstEnergy Stadium for a 1 p.m. kickoff.