The Cleveland Browns came off the bye looking better, but end up with the same result, a loss. The Browns lost to the Detroit Lions, 38-24, on the road, giving Cleveland their ninth loss of the season. The Browns actually outgained the Lions, 413 yards to 345 yards, but some big mistakes and an injury to quarterback DeShone Kizer doomed the team.
The game started almost perfectly for the Browns. The Lions offense went backwards and was forced to go three-and-out on the opening drive. Then on the Browns first offensive snap, quarterback DeShone Kizer completed a beautiful 38-yard pass to Sammie Coates. However, the Browns struggles in the redzone continued forcing the offense to settle for a field goal. The great start continued when Browns linebacker Jamie Collins picked off a Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford pass, setting up the Browns with more great field position. This time the Browns took advantage, scoring a touchdown on a 19-yard catch and run by receiver Kenny Britt from Kizer – yes, that Kenny Britt. The Lions were finally able to put a drive together following the touchdown, but the Browns defense bent but did not break, allowing just a field goal to cut the Browns lead. A penalty-filled Browns drive ended the first quarter, with the Browns leading the Lions 10-3.
The start of the second quarter for the Browns was not as good as the first quarter’s start was for the team. The Lions ran and threw down the throats of the Browns defense, compiling a quick eight-play, 90-yard touchdown drive that tied the game up at 10. After both teams punted on their ensuing drives, the Browns made the biggest mistake of the game at that point. After catching a pass from Kizer, tight end Seth DeValve tried to gain extra yards, but was stripped by Lions defensive back Nevin Lawson. Lawson was able to pick up the fumble and return it for a touchdown, giving the Lions their first lead at 17-10.
The Browns looked like they were going to rebound from that mistake, but Hue Jackson’s clock management and play calling derailed the Browns from cutting the deficit before the half. After wasting all three timeouts, the Browns were faced with a 2nd-and-goal on the two-yard line with 15 seconds left. Rather than call a pass, Jackson called a run play, and Kizer, for reasons still unclear, decided to make a quick audible for a sneak. Kizer was stuffed and the horrible play call caused the clock to run out before the Browns could get another snap off. Even with Kizer’s audible out of the play call, the clock management before that play was horrendous. The whole situation is yet another example of Jackson’s poor resume. The Browns ended the half trailing 17-10 to the Lions.
The second half began with a bang as the Browns put together a masterful drive. In eight plays, the Browns drove 85 yards down the field, tying the game up with a six-yard run by running back Isaiah Crowell. The drive consisted of a healthy dose of the run game. After another stop by the Browns defense, Kizer and company continued their hot third quarter with second straight touchdown drive. This time in ten plays, the Browns drove 80 yards in just over six minutes, capped off by a Kizer quarterback sneak into the endzone. The Browns regained the lead at 24-17. However the lead would not last long as Stafford put an aerial assault on the Browns defense, tying the game up in one minute and 31 seconds on four pass plays. The end of quarter was made worse when Kizer was drilled by an untouched Lions edge blitz, which caused him to come out with an injury to his ribs. This injury would end up impacting the game in a huge way, because the offense fell off the tracks while Kizer was being treated for the injury. The game was all tied up at the end of three, 24-24.
The fourth quarter started with a second straight touchdown drive by the Lions. In nine plays, Detroit drove 61 yards for the 31-24 lead, finished off by a 29-yard touchdown pass from Stafford to tight end Eric Ebron. With Cody Kessler under center now, the Browns went back-to-back three-and-outs with a stop by the Browns defense sprinkled between those two drives. However, after the second straight three-and-out by the Browns offense, the Lions put the likely final nail in the coffin for the Browns. Lions receiver Golden Tate took a short pass from Stafford 40 yards to the endzone to make the score 38-24. The Browns were unable to respond on the next drive, as Kizer threw an interception that cemented the game. The Browns lost to the Detroit Lions, 38-24.
Without a win this season, the Browns are in the category of receiving moral victories. There were a few moral victories for the Browns. Kizer had probably his best game as a professional. He completed 21 of 37 passes for 232 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Besides the last pass that was intercepted, he showed some quality throws and decision-making. He also used his legs well, rushing for 57 yards and a touchdown. Kizer’s injury that forced him to miss parts of the fourth quarter really derailed his performance and the entire offense’s momentum. Without Kizer, the offense looked lost with Kessler under center, allowing the Lions to separate in the game. Along with Kizer on the offense, the run game looked really good. Jackson stuck pretty well to the run game, allowing the team to rush 33 times for 201 yards. Both Crowell and Duke Johnson ran well against the Lions. And finally, the Browns two young edge rushers, Emmanuel Ogbah and Myles Garrett, combined for four tackles, three tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and two sacks. Ogbah, especially, had a big day.
But in the end, the Browns lose their ninth game of the season, moving their record to 0-9. The Browns will look to get their first win next week as the team comes home to face the Jacksonville Jaguars.