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Browns lose Thomas and game, falling to the Titans, 12-9, in OT

The Cleveland Browns came up short once again, falling to the Tennessee Titans, 12-9, in overtime at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns defense was impressive and pretty much the only thing that kept the team in the game. The defense was able to hold Marcus Mariota and the Titans to just 12 points and 269 total yards of offense. But, the inept offense and the constant problem at quarterback doomed the team from its first win of the season. However, the biggest loss did not come in the final score, but in the third quarter as the Browns lost left tackle Joe Thomas with an injury.

The first quarter started off like almost every other Browns game. On the opening kickoff, the Browns were called for an offsides penalty. Following the kickoff, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota led the Tennessee offense down the field in quick fashion, but was stalemated when they crossed the 50-yard line, causing them to settle for a field goal. The Browns offense had a less then impressive first drive, but after the Browns defense stopped the Titans on their second drive of the game, the Cleveland offense showed some hope on their second drive of the game to finish off the first quarter. The Browns trailed after one quarter, 3-0, but the offense looked to be starting to gel late in the quarter.

But in Browns fashion, the promising drive was derailed by a slew of penalties that ended up putting the offense in a 3rd-and-25 situation, all but ending any promise of getting points. But, the Browns defense stepped up following the missed opportunity by the offense. On the ensuing Titans drive, the Browns forced a fumble from Titans tight end Delanie Walker to give the Browns offense a short field at Tennessee’s 40-yard line. The offense was able to move into the redzone, but Cleveland had to settle for a Zane Gonzalez 31-yard field goal, tying the game up at three. The Browns defense once again showed their bend but not break defense, holding the Titans to a field goal in the redzone after withstanding a six-minute drive. With under two minutes to go in the half, the Browns put together an impressive drive, but once again was stopped by a big mistake. Kizer overthrew a pass in scoring territory and was picked off to end any sort of opportunity for points. The Browns went into half trailing the Titans, 6-3.

The third quarter was newsworthy to say the least. After throwing his second pick of the game, the Browns benched Kizer and put in second year quarterback Cody Kessler for his first snaps of the season. On his first drive under center, Kessler led the Browns to a game tying 47-yard field goal by Gonzalez. But what might be the biggest news of the quarter was the injury to left tackle Joe Thomas. Thomas injured his tricep in the scoring drive, causing him to end his consecutive snap streak at 10,363, which spanned 11 seasons and 167 games. He was later ruled out for the rest of the game. Even at the end of all these tough moments for the Browns, the team entered the fourth quarter tied at six against the Tennessee Titans.

The Titans opened the fourth quarter by taking a 9-6 lead with a Ryan Succop 46-yard field goal. The fourth quarter saw a lot of missed opportunities for both teams to try and take the game, but the game remained a 9-6 Titans lead going into the two minute warning with the ball in the Browns hands. Cleveland was able to put together a solid drive that set up a 54-yard field goal for Gonzalez. Continuing his string day, Gonzalez drilled the kick to tie the game up at nine with 51 seconds left in regulation. The Browns defense held, moving the game to overtime.

The Browns won the toss and chose to receive the kick. But, the offense sputtered and went three and out on the opening drive of overtime, making the game sudden death going forward. After both teams came up empty on the next two drives, the Titans started their second drive on their own 46-yard line. The Browns defense remained tough, but the Titans were able to set a 47-yard field goal for the game. Succop came and nailed the kick, giving the Titans the 12-9 overtime victory.

The Browns defense was a real bright spot for Cleveland as they played their hearts out to keep the team in striking distance to win the game. If it weren’t for the defense, the Browns would have been run off the field and completely destroyed. The defense has a lot of nice pieces to build on and is something to look forward to with this franchise.

In the end, the Browns once again came up short, but the real storyline in my mind is the loss of Joe Thomas. Thomas has been the only constant for this struggling franchise, showing toughness and greatness through all the suck. It was tough to watch Thomas on the ground in pain and seeing the Browns play with someone other than the future Hall of Famer at left tackle. The unbelievable consecutive snap streak is over, but what a streak it was. It was one of the most impressive playing streaks in all of sports. Hopefully, Thomas will be healthy enough to play next week and start a new streak.

The Browns will continue their journey of finding win No. 1 next week when they travel across the pond to London to face the Minnesota Vikings. Just a reminder for those who want to torture their Sunday that the Browns kickoff is at 9:30 A.M. next week! Rise and shine.

  • Sam Gold
  • JM85

    What a mess. Where do we start? How about Hue Jackson? They didn’t take a penalty and of course the Titans converted a 4th down. Then he yanks Kizer yet again, when a month ago he said he was their QB. They tried to ice the kicker, he missed and then made the winning kick. Does he know he is gone? It’s hard to take him seriously. Perhaps Gregg Williams is going to be promoted. This team is so undisciplined. The penalties were unbelievable.

  • Sam Gold

    After every loss Hue says they have to get “it” fixed and then they trot out the next week and IT’S THE EXACT SAME THING.

  • RGB

    Well, so much for those high draft picks for JT…

  • exit322

    To be fair, the kick in overtime was actually stopped by the two minute warning, not a timeout.

  • Chris

    Baby steps, but I thought Kizer’s vision and decision making were the best we’ve seen yet. The interceptions were horrible HORRIBLE throws, but he seemed to be in the right place mentally for most of the game (errr… half).

  • Bryan

    How many games were you expecting to win? The defense had 5 offside penalties but still was able to keep Tenn from much running production. Deshaun and Cody both did some good and bad things. David Njoku flashed, some of the receivers showed out, except Kenny Britt, and Duke and Isiah had some solid production. It was an entertaining game to watch. The plan by the front office is working. Stay in the boat and everyone keep bailing. Next year is gonna be better.

  • Skulb

    Good thing he got benched. Again. In order to not bore you by repeating my opinions on the subject again though, let me quote NFL.com:

    “Firing a staff won’t help anything develop in Cleveland, but Hue Jackson’s (mis)management of the quarterback position is alarming. Jackson has now switched from Kizer, to Kevin Hogan, back to Kizer (and demoting Hogan to third string), to Cody Kessler after another poor outing from Kizer. For a coach who was a supposed quarterback whisperer, he’s been as consistent as the fall weather in Cleveland. His quick hook on Kizer has screamed desperation, and after
    yet another loss, it would be foolish to expect anything less in the coming weeks. The problem with this is this creates a quarterback room with each guy constantly looking over his shoulder for his replacement, which definitely doesn’t breed confidence.”

    Couldn’t have said it better. This is how you wreck QBs, not help them develop. But hey, at least the defense is playing well.

  • Skulb

    The Thomas injury might be single most depressing thing to happen in a thoroughly depressing season. Hopefully he’s not out for long. Can you imagine this offense with some random PS tackling dummy at left tackle? The mind balks at the prospect.

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  • Sam Gold
  • Sam Gold

    But he’s the QB whisperer…

  • Sam Gold

    Not a question of how many wins. It was always a question of obvious progression from year one to year two. The defense is showing progress from game one of this year. The O looks progressively worse every week. Until the first half of yesterday we barely got the ball in the hands of the playmakers we do have in Johnson, Njoku or DeValve. In fact, the scheme yesterday in the first half was what I’ve been waiting all season to see: pounding the rock, quick developing routes with one read for your rookie QB, slants, screens, quick outs. In what way has this HC/OC done ANYTHING to help his rookie QB succeed? In what way has he demonstrated an ability to have a team prepared at kickoff? In what way has he demonstrated an ability to manage in-game? Every week he has at least two mind boggling calls (3rd & 1, personal foul in fg range, decline. WTF?!?!?!), and quickly abandons his game plan to ask his rookie QB to save the day with painfully long developing 20+ yard routes. He did it again yesterday with Kessler after Thomas goes out and Orakpo is demolishing the line and he asks Kessler to hold the ball. He has shown ZERO in game awareness. What is it you expect to magically change in year three when we are finally in a position to draft the QBOTF and place him into a team that has a better than good OLine, a few playmakers which will include a returning Coleman (yes, he has talent if he can just keep his hands out of harm’s way), a likely high pick WR and a solidly improving D? What part of that young saviour of the franchise do we want to trust to, “The earth moved, “Trust Me,” “We’ll stick with him come good, bad or whatever?”

  • Sam Gold

    Agreed but to be fair, he is 32 (almost 33) and they had to be thinking about his replacement. If not, this would unquestionably be an indictment of the FO.

  • tigersbrowns2
  • Skulb

    Since when do the Cleveland Browns think? I fully expect them to have no plan of any sort for Thomas’ retirement. That would fit nicely into them not having much of a plan with anything else.

  • Sam Gold
  • Skulb

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    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d0f1ef8f84ab9655099f23a98118fb1646c3559f58e52dffd2e1c79871522577.jpg

  • tigersbrowns2

    Hi SAM … yep , declining the 15-yard penalty had me saying “what’s he doing ?”.

  • Skulb

    Progress is the key. THe offense has regressed from last year, if such a thing is possible. And it is regressing week to week. Does anyone anywhere believe that the Browns are going to score any points whenever they take the field on offense now? A successful drive these days is not turning the ball over before you have time to go three and out.
    This is the worst any NFL team has played since World War II. It’s not some average slump that other teams experience. It is rock bottom and they’ve started digging from there.

    Easy to criticize obviously. But by God do they deserve it!

  • tigersbrowns2

    i was fairly impressed that Kizer called a players only meeting this week … something a rookie doesn’t usually do … this looks well on his leadership capabilities. I also thought the week on the sideline would help him clear his head a bit. and everything was going fine until the first int. … just a horrible decision & horrible pass.

    Kessler showed his trademark accuracy , but after JT left the game , Kessler was pretty much running for his life on every play. Vikings play pretty good defense & I’m guessing the more mobile QB (Kizer) will be the starter in London next week.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi SKULB … i imagine Hue is trying to balance developing Kizer & just winning a game. i was okay with the move to Kessler & i expect Kizer will probably start the next game.

  • Toddyus

    I guess I saw a different game. Kizer has so much to give on paper, but his accuracy is atrocious. Not just this game, but throughout the season. Nothing underlined that for me more than when Kessler came in cold. Forget about comparing Kessler to the league, compared to Kizer his accuracy is exponentially greater.

  • Skulb

    I have never seen this short hook approach work even once. For a young QB in his first season, what Kizer is likely to feel is way too much pressure to play perfectly and a total lack of confidence from his head coach. I am a firm believer in full seasons for whoever the QB is in any given season, regardless of results. If said results are poor that either means that you made a poor choice of starting QB, which is on you as the head coach, or that there was no one suitable available, which is on the front office.

    This constant yanking of the QBs is Hue Jackson blaming the QBs for his failures, which makes it cowardly as far as I’m concerned. This is his fault first and the front office’s fault second. Yet Kizer, Kessler and Hogan are the ones who now have to take the blame. Because that’s another thing you’re signaling by benching them over and over again in every game. If it wasn’t for their horribleness, the Browns would just be an amazing team all round! It is incompetent, bordering on negligent. And every time it happens my sympathy for Hue Jackson over his imminent and inevitable firing grows less and less. He should be fired over his mishandling of the QB room alone, if for nothing else. And there’s plenty else.

  • BenRM

    I’m not sure what else he’s supposed to say, to be honest. I think we hear from coaches and players far too often. There just isn’t much to add. And frankly, the questions that are asked aren’t usually very thoughtful.

  • Chris

    I totally agree on the accuracy. That needs to improve considerably if he is going to see a second contract.

    But I saw some improvements from Kizer. He had much better pocket awareness. He completed more short passes. From where I was sitting, it looked like his interceptions were because of a horribly thrown football, not necessarily because of a bad decision. Like I said, baby steps.

  • tigersbrowns2

    Hue has told his QB’s he will not tolerate turnovers … so what is he supposed to do when they do start turning the ball over ?

  • Chris

    Run.

  • Sam Gold

    I guess my point is more the nothing-changing rather than what-they-say. Totally agree that the majority of questions are beyond inane.

  • Sam Gold

    Wow, perfectly stated.

  • BenRM

    Nothing is changing, I agree. I think Hue is BLOWING this.

  • Steve

    Because they aren’t trying to win games this year. “It” requires a long-term solution.

  • Skulb

    But that’s such an infantile approach to coaching. I dare you not to blink! Are you blinking? You didn’t blink just then, did you? That is contrary to the instructions I just gave you. I specifically told you not to blink! You must be punished! How dare you direspect me by blinking!?! Oh I’m so mad right now.

    Meanwhile back in reality, even Tom Brady throws the occasional pick. It is an unreasonable demand to make of a rookie. Or of anyone. Rather each pick needs to be carefully looked at by the coaching staff along with the QB so that lessons can be learned and the problem gradually limited. Well, that’s what a sane coach would do at any rate.

  • tigersbrowns2

    if Brady would’ve thrown 5 int’s in the red zone this year , the pundits would be saying he was washed-up … is it really that unreasonable for Hue to say to his QB’s “if you continually turn the ball the ball over , I’m going to put someone else in there” ?? and when you’re in the middle of trying to win a game there is no time to look at each mistake carefully .

    the reality is Hue is undermanned at most of the offensive skill positions … woefully undermanned. all you need to do is look at last year with all the unique formations , wildcat formations & other unique things he was doing … none of that this year. that doesn’t excuse bad coaching or bad play by the players.

    simply look at what Hue is working with … you think this is easy for him ?

  • Sam Gold

    Somebody should tell Hue.

  • Skulb

    Yes but this is precisely why you have to scheme to hide your QB a little on this team in particular and just in general with rookies. Instead there seems to be a concerted effort by the Browns to expose all these guys weaknesses’ as much as possible. Look at Jacksonville now with Bortles for an example. Or Flacco and his putrid offense in Baltimore. Literally his only job now is to avoid turnovers. Forget about the deep ball. Or even an accurate throw over the middle. Or even a five yard run. Let’s go three and out and hope our defense can do something.
    But not the amazing Browns. Oh no! We’re gonna fling it and be a big play offense, because that’s The Plan. And it doesn’t faze us the slightest that we don’t have the presonnel to do this at any position. Geronimo!

    It’s all very depressing. And foolish. incredibly foolish. There are ways to win some games with this team. Hue Jackson just doesn’t know any of them.

  • tsm

    Agree with Pluto, that Kizer was simply not ready to begin the season as the starter. Thus, Osweiler, whom we already paid for, should have started the first 4-5 games. This would have lessened the pressure on Kizer, and given him plenty of time to learn by watching. Hue is responsible for this mess.

  • Steve

    Seems to me like he’s fitting the bill perfectly when it comes to losing. He may be the fall guy when fans who foolishly thought they would look not-terrible protest enough, but this has always been exactly the plan.

  • Sam Gold

    Please explain, which part of Hue’s coaching thus far is according to plan?

  • Steve

    The part where we get first cracks to get another Myles Garrett.

  • Sam Gold

    k.