Two missed field goals and a very questionable call inside the five yard line cost the Cleveland Browns (0-5) a victory as they fell to the New York Jets (3-2) 17-14.
A 41 yard catch and run for a touchdown by Duke Johnson made things interesting inside two minutes to go but a failed onside kick sealed the fate for the Browns.
DeShone Kizer was benched after a poor first half with several opportunites to score points were missed by his performance.
He finished the half 8-17 for 87 yards, one interception and a fumble.
The interception was a result of him rolling out to find Seth DeValve in the corner of the endzone but was picked off by Jets safety Marcus Maye. The fumble came on an audible by Kizer as he switched the play to a speed option but he pitched the ball ahead of Crowell and resulted in the turnover.
Kevin Hogan came in and moved the offense down the field consistently in the second half whether it was throwing or running it. Hogan finished the game 16-19 for 194 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also added 30 yards rushing on 4 carries.
Hogan’s lone turnover came as he was getting pressured and threw a ball towards Ricardo Louis. Louis tipped the ball and Morris Claiborne was in prime position to get the interception.
The Jets capitalized on that interception with a quick drive which ended when Josh McCown threw a touchdown pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
McCown in his first game back in Cleveland since being released went 23-30 for 194 yards, two touchdowns and an interception as he has tripled his win total with the Jets with 3 as he only had 1 win in Cleveland.
There was some bright spots for Cleveland today, the biggest being rookie Myles Garrett. On his very first snap, he sacked McCown on the opening drive of the game. He also recorded another sack on McCown later in the game.
He showed why the Browns made him the first overall pick in the draft with his ability to get after the quarterback but Garrett came off the field late in the game wincing and trainers were looking at his ankle. It’s unknown if he re-aggravated the injury.
Duke Johnson proved once again that he needs to get more touches and perhaps even be the starting running back. While Crowell stepped up today with 60 yards on 16 carries, Johnson had 83 total yards on 9 offensive touches and provided the Browns with a playmaker that’s been lacking this season.
David Njoku and Kevin Hogan have a great chemistry and it continues to show. They hooked up for a touchdown in the third quarter and Njoku finished with 3 catches for 48 yards and showed he can be a big time playmaker in this league for years to come. Remember he’s only 20 years old and still has room to grow.
As for Hue Jackson, his time in Cleveland may unfortunately be coming towards the end especially after today’s game. Another game of questionable play calling and decision making.
Zane Gonzalez missed two field goals earlier in the game and the Browns faced a 4th and 2 inside the five yard line and Jackson called a running play up the middle.
If he wanted to go for it, I appreciate the boldness but there should’ve been a better play to call in that situation or give Gonzalez a chance to redeem himself because after Johnson scored the late touchdown, that could’ve been the score to tie or ultimately win the game.
Obviously pulling Kizer for Hogan was a desperation move by Jackson to get the offense rolling and it worked to a degree but we still lost. Jackson told everyone that Kizer was going to be the guy under center no matter how bad it gets and obviously he knows his job is on the line so he made the move.
The Browns now sit 0-5 and Jackson’s seat has to be as hot as it’s ever been during his tenure in Cleveland.
You have to believe that the Haslams are furious with what’s being displayed on the field and the fact the team is 1-20 since this new regime started despite everyone saying 2018 is the target year to compete is ridiculous.
I’m not saying people are going to be fired this week but I would stay alert because we all know Jimmy Haslam has an itchy trigger finger and isn’t afraid to make a change.
The Browns will travel to Houston next week with a dark cloud looming over the organization and the quarterback position while Houston is on the up and have a quarterback the Browns passed over in the draft that is having tremendous early success.