Browns, Featured

Jaguars beat Browns in boring, turnover-punt-fest, 19-7

Sports fans talk themselves into pitchers’ duels when they’re watching baseball. Football is a game where it’s often said that defense wins championships, but nobody really wants to watch a defensive struggle unless the defenses are also doing some scoring. That was my general thought as the Browns and Jags got it on in First Energy Stadium in Cleveland on Sunday. This was a defensive struggle that felt almost as much like offensive futility as it did dominant defense. It was a festival of punts and turnovers as the Browns threw the ball too much and Jacksonville played prevent offense running the ball constantly for about three yards per attempt. Both teams punted like crazy, totalling 17 between them. Browns lost and had a chance to win in the fourth quarter, but two straight turnovers – one for a Jags TD – ended an ugly day in downtown Cleveland, 19-7 bad guys.

I do want to be fair to the Browns. Most weeks, I’d simply criticize the Browns’ offense for putting up just seven points and turning the ball over five times, but against the Jaguars, it’s reasonable for them to struggle. The Jags defense is legit. Even that said, the Browns’ first quarter on offense was ugly and told the tale for the whole game. In four possessions, the Browns averaged 2.5 plays per possession with three 3-and-outs and a one-play drive ending in a DeShone Kizer interception. The word futility doesn’t even do it justice. Thankfully, the Browns defense was holding up his end of the bargain for making it a defensive struggle. The Browns trailed the Jags 7-0 at the end of one quarter. The touchdown the Browns gave up was a 33-yard drive that was handed to Blake Bortles and company via Kizer interception.

The Browns finally put a drive together after surrendering a field goal to make it Jags 10-0. DeShone Kizer had one of the best drives o the season as he found Corey Coleman twice for 20, and 8 yards. Kizer rushed for 10 before finding Duke Johnson down the middle for a pretty touchdown pass that just made it between the corners and the safeties.

It was a necessary response after the Browns’ offense was so listless for the entirety of the first quarter. This one drive was about the only entertaining portion of the first half. Browns went into the locker room down 10-7.

The rest of the game was just as non-descript. The Jags hit a field goal and the aforementioned defensive touchdown to win 19-7. The Jags won four in a row and also went undefeated against the AFC North for 2017. They held serve on offense all day handing the ball off more than 40 times with 28 carries going to Leonard Fournette.

The Browns only handed the ball off 13 times to running backs for a mere 28 yards. The result was DeShone Kizer throwing two interceptions, and one TD, whole going 16/32 for 179 yards. Additionally, Kizer fumbled three times, losing two. Yuck.

The Jaguars defense is good, but the Browns’ gameplan was lacking much intelligence in terms of trying to maximize what they do well and what they don’t do well. Watching Doug Marrone manage the gameplan to account for his stellar defense and the not-so-stellar Blake Bortles should be eye-opening for Browns fans that have watched DeShone Kizer throw the ball quite a bit. For the season, Bortles’ has led the Jags to a 7-3 record while attempting just 31.5 passes per game on average. That’s basically the same average as DeShone Kizer, but there’s a huge difference. The Jags have rushed the ball 349 times this season while the Browns have rushed it 238 times.

Despite the tough day, it still feels like the Browns are fighting hard and could win a game this year. That’s where we are as a site covering this team. We’re trying to figure out if they can win a single game. I know you all know that, but it’s important to say it out loud just to remember how bad it is. The Browns still have the Chargers, Packers (without Aaron Rodgers,) and the Chicago Bears to go on their schedule. Those are three pretty good chances, even for these Cleveland Browns.

Other Notes:

Ricardo Louis got plastered on punt coverage. It’s not a flag for hitting a defenseless player, but at some point in the future it probably should be a penalty. You’ve got a guy on punt coverage running full speed at a guy – the receiver – that he’s not allowed to hit, but that receiver can decide to let the ball go and hammer the defender on his way to cover. It’s ugly on tape.

Corey Coleman was a sight for sore eyes. The Browns’ best receiver had six catches for 80 yards and was one of the only weapons the Browns had that could get open.

Watching Myles Garrett physically toss a left tackle is really fun.

Browns lose Ogbah to broken foot.

  • Harv

    The players played hard. Not often well, but hard. I suddenly feel bad for the predicament Sashi has put them in. The borderline to bad players didn’t ask to start. The kid QB didn’t ask to be force fed experience with virtually no help or, as importantly, almost equally inexperienced teammates. Or to be saddled with a starting RB that drops like he’s been shot at first contact.

    Wait. Hue didn’t stupidly blow any timeouts today, so there’s that. Our punter is pretty dang good, like in the days when Chris Gardocki and Phil Dawson were our best players. But Myles Garrett’s physical dominance gets lost without an ecosystem where it can wreak havoc – it’s like firing a bullet into the ocean. One more month or so and maybe we’ll have word on a real GM who knows what to do with draft picks. If against all odds they snag someone reasonably competent maybe I’ll feel vaguely hopeful again.

  • Sam Gold

    Yeah, but at least we have a HC who knows how to get the most out of the talent he does have.

    https://assets.rbl.ms/10503637/980x.gif

  • Casual_Kenny_Reigns

    I started a new job recently and it’s a high pressure situation where there’s no vets to learn from. It’s hard! Kizer is in an impossible situation.

  • RGB

    Your knuckles are dragging.
    You obviously don’t grasp The Process.

    https://media.giphy.com/media/aVtdz7iNVPI1W/giphy.gif

  • Steve

    “but the Browns’ gameplan was lacking much intelligence in terms of trying to maximize what they do well and what they don’t do well.”

    Because putting themselves in the best chance to win is not the primary goal.

  • Skulb

    How was it? I have been busy with my weekly Redskins torture session.

  • Steve

    “The borderline to bad players didn’t ask to start. The kid QB didn’t ask to be force fed experience”

    Every single one of these guys, without a shadow of a doubt, jumped at the chance to get a bigger role.

    Worthwhile arguments are ones that show why throwing players straight into the fire is better or worse for their long term development. The final scores this year mean nothing.

  • mgbode

    I agree the FO might not have had that the primary goal, but the coaching staff better. These players need to develop and making them tackling dummies for a couple years without expanding on their skills is not how to go about it. Coaches are for short-term and they need to be attempting to put ourselves in the best position. There should be no way the FO/owner told the coaches to not do so. Any criticism at the coaches for not then, is warranted.

  • JM85

    Who needs wins? We have draft picks.

  • Skulb

    They never give any to me, which doesn’t really seem fair. The Browns FO are pick-hoggers!

  • Steve

    I completely get that, but the learning experience this year extends not just to getting rostered but asked to run sets that challenge you to do more.

    Now, as I said above, I’m open to arguments that throwing them into the deep end and seeing if they sink or swim may not be the best approach. I think I would even agree with that myself.

    But throwing guys into the deep end also means doing things like challenging Peppers to improve his coverage skills, or to keep going back to inside zone against a defense that has shown itself to be stout against it.

    If the skills aren’t actually improving, then certainly, blame the teachers and find new ones. But we have to be assessing whether our inside zone blocking is actually improving from previous weeks in a neutral context, and not be flustered because our opponent was suited to stop it this week.

  • mgbode

    Just seems like a stretch. And, the team would do better to make sure everyone knew instead of the BS they are spewing. Just this week, RB coach noted he had watched every single Jags D run play and saw some areas to exploit. Then, 75% of our plays are into their strength. No reason for that quote if your plan is different as it makes the coaching staff seem inept.

  • mgbode

    Refs took away a sack, fumble touchdown from Jags. Very next series, Browns give Jags sack, fumble touchdown. That type of game.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi SKULB … i did predict a close game on Friday … it was 13-7 with 1:30 left in the game & the Browns had the ball … and that’s when the Jags scored their defensive TD at the end.

  • tigersbrowns2

    man , as Kizer’s biggest supporter in this forum , i am extremely disappointed in his play yesterday … 4 turnovers will not cut it.

  • BenRM

    This was…not good.

  • Harv

    “Every single one of these guys, without a shadow of a doubt, jumped at the chance to get a bigger role.” Really – you’re saying my point was that the kids themselves want to sit rather than play? I rarely mention scores, and I didn’t here. I’ve not once written that this season’s record is a barometer of this team’s development because I don’t believe it. Happy to engage in a discussion, Steve, but won’t honor an Attack Response made for its own sake.

  • Harv

    There’s a lot to like about Kizer – but I worry that I’m subjectively upticking his ability because of our other garbage QBs. Like when I watch another team’s mediocre QB and think, HE has better raw skills than anyone we have. Experience might improve Kizer’s decisions and processing speed and field vision, but those unforced horrible throws – you just can’t be an NFL starter doing that every game. If it’s mechanical, not sure why it happens when he’s not under duress.

  • BenRM

    IMO, Kizer would have benefited greatly from staying another year in college and then getting the back-up treatment. He’s way too underdeveloped, despite his raw talent.

    He may never be anything more than Brock Osweiler…but at least he’s already more talented than Brock!

  • Chris

    Nah… he made the right move. I’d rather be bludgeoned to death by NFL lineman than have to listen to Brian Kelly for another eight months.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi HARV … i agree. it’s obvious that he has above average athletic ability as witnessed by his rushing numbers & rushing TD’s … he has a good frame at 6’4″ 230 lbs. … he also has above average arm-strength as well.

    it is clear he needs to work on his accuracy , whether it’s working more with his receivers or taking a little steam off of his passes & work on his touch a bit more … but the single biggest disappointment to me so far has been his FOOTBALL SMARTS … he is a very smart kid , who puts in a lot of time recognizing & dissecting defenses … he blew away Jon Gruden with his “chalkboard smarts” … he did not even see the LB on his first throw (INT) yesterday … so , he still needs to work on “looking-off” defenders … and football security / turnovers would also be in the football smarts category.

    it’s too bad that a rookie QB even has to start right away in the NFL , let alone Cleveland … it would’ve been nice to have Josh McCown for 1 more year. but , this was the hand Kizer was dealt … due to lack of a veteran QB , he did good enough in the pre-season to win the job , so now he has the job … so now he also has to learn the job.

    I’m still rooting for the kid to do well …

  • BenRM

    Well, sure. That’s a point. But he sucks in the NFL and his career is probably dead…soooo…

  • Chris

    Still better than playing for that red-faced tantrum-throwing toddler.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi BEN … he would benefited more from not having to start right away. but due to the lack of a veteran QB , he won the starting job. even Watson & Trubisky did not have to start week 1.

    but , here we are … we already know we have to bring in 1 or 2 QB’s next year … maybe 1 veteran & 1 rookie … let’s say we did sign Cousins , he would obviously be the starter , Kizer the back-up & the rookie can wait until he’s ready … if they bring in a mid-level veteran like McCarron or T.Taylor , there might be a competition for the starting job … and if they don’t bring in a veteran , Kizer may be the starter next year with our drafted rookie possibly being the back-up.

  • tigersbrowns2

    as disappointed as I am in Kizer , i was happy with the effort & fight from the rest of the team , especially the defense … the defense & the O-line should bring about a reasonable amount of hope that a turnaround from despair may not be as far off as some think.

    again , seriously addressing QB , RB , WR & FS this off-season , will go a long way …

  • tigersbrowns2

    so , did anyone watch the duel between Rosen (UCLA) & Darnold (USC) ?? … looks like Rosen put up more yards & TD passes , but Darnold was more more efficient & his team won the game.

  • BenRM

    Is it though?

  • Skulb

    Oh my.

  • Skulb

    Yes it did look close before the fourth. Except that the Jags D were due a score and the Browns were due a punt return drop, three fumbles and some interceptions. Still, nice effort and some good defending for three quarters. Just gotta finish games in a more functional way.

  • Skulb

    To be fair, it is a tough album to get to grips with. Clearly, Skinny Puppy isn’t for everyone.

  • Harv

    I saw. Thought Rosen looked superior (at THIS stage; he’s older) and is scary accurate. His inferior team forced him to make plays. He also knows how to look off safeties, find secondary receivers, etc. Classic drop back passer, pretty immobile. Darnold could afford to be more of a game manager but still made some mental mistakes. Has good physical tools.

    My eval comes with the following caveat: I thought Peter Warrick was going to be a real NFL receiver.

  • RGB

    Everything about Rosen screams Jay Cutler.

  • tigersbrowns2

    thanks HARV … my gut tells me we may be taking one of these 2 in the next draft … though I heard Darnold might stay at USC if the Browns have the 1st pick … which is kinda stupid , because the Browns other 1st round pick may be in the top 12.

  • tigersbrowns2

    hi RGB … it looks like a good QB class … and you gotta think we’ll be drafting one unless we get Kirk Cousins … and even then , they still might have to draft a QB … so , who is the guy ? Rosen , L.Jackson , Darnold , Mayfield or Allen … or is it someone else ?

  • tigersbrowns2

    … and doesn’t it seem that no matter who we take will be a bust & whoever we pass on will go on to greatness ??

  • WFNY_DP

    I’m smart. I have two degrees. That doesn’t mean I can read an NFL defense and know where to throw the ball under duress (spoiler alert: I cannot).

  • tigersbrowns2

    mornin’ , sir … but , if you had been a QB since your grade schools days & you got drafted in the NFL , I would expect you to know how to read a defense & know where to throw the ball under duress.

  • Chris
  • Steve

    There’s no other way to take the piece I quoted.

    Sorry that you don’t want to engage criticism.

  • Steve

    I never see a reason to take coach quotes seriously. They are PR only. Most of the stuff we hear this year was always going to be to try to get the fans hopes up as much as possible.

    I just don’t find it believable that not just experts like you, but Joe Averages like me, know that Peppers is in the wrong spot, and you don’t run inside zone against Jacksonville, but the professionals don’t. They do. It’s part of the process.

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