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This week, the Cleveland Browns were just 15 minutes away from locking up their first win. Up two touchdowns, the Green Bay Packers took the field and ultimately took over in the end of the third quarter into the fourth and never looked back. They would score a touchdown early in the fourth and watched the Browns stall before getting the game tying touchdown to force overtime. This is where the weeks of misery culminated into one terrible decision, which set the Packers up for the game winning score. Where did it all go wrong? Here’s this weeks Browns Notes.
1. Kizer En Fuego
In the first three quarters of this game, rookie quarterback, DeShone Kizer put on a clinic. Other than two interceptions, he had thrown for 214 yards and three touchdowns. He looked to have rebounded from a harsh ending last week against the Los Angeles Chargers. However, it didn’t end there, which leads to point number two.
2. The Throw
Over the past few seasons, Cleveland quarterbacks have had an embarrassing moment that defined their tenure. Brandon Weeden had the shovel pass interception, Josh McCown had the failed helicopter spin and Johnny Manziel had the Microsoft Surface incident. This week, Kizer had his moment. Following the heartbreaking collapse, Kizer took the snap on a third and two from the Browns 33-yard line.
In that moment, the Packers pressure came early and allowed linebacker Clay Matthews to break free and hit Kizer. At that moment, Kizer attempted to complete the pass, only for it to become a jump ball type of pass, which was intercepted. This was the moment many Browns’ fans felt should be the end of DeShone Kizer as Cleveland’s starting quarterback and move onto #29.
3. Crowell Breaks Through
This season has been a roller coaster for half back Isaiah Crowell but this week, he finally put it together. He would get 19 carries and take them for 121 yards. While he didn’t score a touchdown, it was enough to open up the pass game enough to let Kizer excel. While his future in Cleveland seems unknown, he is trying to end the season on the highest note he can to salvage any hope for a bigger contract next year.
4. Four Years Strong
Wide receiver Josh Gordon stunned the NFL when he returned last week and played like he never missed any time. This week, Gordon added to that feat by scoring his first touchdown since 2013. Despite only getting three receptions, Gordon went off for 69 yards. Part of a good day for Browns wide receivers.
5. No Pay To Play
Probably the biggest problem with this past week’s game was the play calling. While young players like safety Kai Nacua made stupid decisions, they played on through their mistakes and put pressure on the Packers. Once the fourth quarter started however, the Browns went into a prevent game plan and tried to play in autopilot mode; it didn’t work. The idea to play more conservatively was questioned by many fans as the seconds ticked away.
However, the biggest problem was they stopped running the football at the wrong time. Had Cleveland ran the football more, perhaps there would be a chance the Browns would have their first win of the year. The biggest heartaches including the big punt return and the interception could be attributed to terrible play calling. Coach Hue Jackson may have been told that he’ll have at least one more year but if he continues to lose in ways like this, that could be revoked very easily.
6. Looking Forward To Next Week
Next week will be the Browns final home game of the year, as they host the Baltimore defense. Their first game was the infamous, “Migraine Game” for DeShone Kizer, where the Ravens won 24-10. The Ravens are currently 7-6, and are in the race for a wild card spot. If Cleveland is to have a chance, they’ll have to stifle the Ravens rushing attack, which is 10th in the league. If they can force the Ravens to throw the football, they could have a chance on that front. Their biggest problem however will be figuring out this Ravens defense. The Ravens are considered 69.8% favorite in this game with the early spread being -7 for Baltimore.