CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – When Bengals tight end Tyler Kroft hauled in his second touchdown of the afternoon to put Cincinnati up 31-0 with 3:37 left in the third quarter FirstEnergy Stadium emptied in a hurry.
Head coach Hue Jackson couldn’t blame them either.
“I understand our fans leaving. I probably would have, too,” Jackson said acknowledging the pain they continue to endure watching their team lose week after week. “We weren’t playing good enough. I respect that. Hopefully, they will be back next week.”
Jackson fell to 1-19 as head coach following a 31-7 blowout by the Bengals. The franchise has now lost 37 of their last 41 football games since starting the 2014 season 7-4 and there doesn’t appear to be better days coming anytime soon.
Sunday’s game was over by halftime with the Browns down 21-0.
It was so bad that Jackson yanked rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer with 6:30 left in the game as a method of preservation of Kizer and not because a permanent change is in the offing.
“DeShone Kizer is the quarterback,” Jackson said. “I told him that, and I took him out because I didn’t want to take a chance [of him getting hurt]. I believe what this guy is going to be so I didn’t want to take a chance of leaving him in there and all of the sudden getting him injured. It is good to see Kevin go in there and do some things, but that was nothing about DeShone’s performance or anything like that.”
Kizer has had a difficult start to his career in Cleveland and he was once again plagued by dropped passes by his receivers against Cincinnati. He has completed just 73 of 142 passes – 51.4 percent – for 764 yards with 3 touchdowns and 8 interceptions through 4 games.
Kevin Hogan, who has served as the backup through the first 4 games to Kizer, helped the Browns avoid being shutout for the first time since Dec. 14, 2014 – a 30-0 loss to the Bengals at home – by leading a 12-play, 63-yard drive that was eventually capped by a Duke Johnson touchdown run.
It was a bitter consolation prize for a franchise that continues its free-fall deep into the abyss while Jackson tried to stave off talk of regression.
“Today was not a good day for our football team. We need to get better,” Jackson said.
With the continued losing comes more rumors of turmoil.
After the game Jackson also dismissed a report from CBS Sports NFL insider Jason LaCanfora that there continues to be growing tension between him and his coaching staff within the building following a conference call between owner Jimmy Haslam and executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown and his staff this week.
“Let’s be honest, that has been the [reported] flavor of this organization for years,” Jackson said. “That doesn’t exist in our building at all. I know those things are going to come. You guys are going to ask those questions. I know nothing about that at all.”