CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Browns blew another chance to get their first elusive win of the season Sunday because of a pair of turnovers by quarterback DeShone Kizer in the final 2 minutes sealed their fate, again.
Despite a less than stellar performance from Blake Bortles that saw the quarterback throw for just 159 yards in wintry conditions, Jacksonville hung on for a 19-7 win to improve to 7-3.
The Browns fell to 0-10 for a second straight year marking the second-worst start to a season in franchise history. Cleveland is 1-25 in their last 26 games under Hue Jackson and 4-43 in their last 47 marking the worst record over that span in NFL history.
Here’s a look at the good and bad from loss No. 10.
Early field position – Matt Dayes ripped off a 53-yard kickoff return to the Jaguars’ 48 to open the game for the Browns. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor said Friday he hoped they’d start running off big returns with the weather turning and he got one right out of the shoot. Cleveland’s second offensive possession was set up thanks to a shanked 21-yard punt from Jaguars punter Brad Nortman, which came after the Jaguars were hit with an illegal formation penalty on his first attempt, allowing the Browns to start at their own 45. Unfortunately the results from both plays were a 3-and-out and an interception.
Kizer To Duke – DeShone Kizer threaded the needle beautifully to running back Duke Johnson, who split a pair of defenders, for a 27-yard touchdown to cap a 5-play, 66-yard drive to make it a 10-7 game with 11:28 left in the first half. Johnson leads the team with 46 catches for 414 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was given the ball just twice on the ground Sunday where he ran for 10 yards. The underutilized Johnson is averaging 5.2 yards per carry this season.
Trio of Defenders – James Burgess, Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert combined to make life miserable for Bortles all day. Burgess, who has replaced the injured Jamie Collins, led the team with 16 combined tackles, 3 tackles for loss and a sack. Kirksey had 13 combined tackles with a sack and forced fumble. Schobert also finished with a double-digit tackle total – 11 – and he also forced a fumble that Jacksonville ultimately recovered.
Welcome Back – Receiver Corey Coleman led the Browns with 11 targets Sunday in his first actions since breaking a bone in his right hand Sept. 17 at Baltimore. Coleman caught 6 of them to lead the Browns in catches for a team-high 80 yards.
Emmanuel Ogbah – Ogbah had a big day before suffering a broken foot that forced him from the game late in the first half. Ogbah batted down a pair of passes, finished with 2 tackles with 1 of them for a loss.
Wasted Opportunities – The Browns immediately went 3-and-out on their first offensive series after the electric Dayes return – a series ended on third down by the 36th sack of the season by Jacksonville’s defense on third-and-4. The second offensive series for Cleveland ended quickly when Kizer was picked off by linebacker Telvin Smith throwing over the middle for Corey Coleman. It marked the 13th INT of the season for Kizer and 19th takeaway for Jacksonville’s defense this season.
Box Score Blues – Sunday’s game was much closer than the 19-7 final score or even box score would indicate. Jacksonville won every important statistical category Sunday: first downs 15-11, third down efficiency 6-20 to 3-13, net yards 284-184, rushing 139-50, passing 145-134. Both teams fumbled 5 times with Cleveland losing 3 while the Jaguars lost just 1.
Run Defense – The Browns allowed their first 100-yard rusher of the season as Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette ran 28 times for 111 yards. Jacksonville out-gained the Browns 139-50 on the ground.
Turnovers – Jabrill Peppers muffed a third quarter punt that Jacksonville’s Jared Wilson fell on. The DeShone Kizer committed 3 turnovers in the second half. The first was an overthrow to Corey Coleman that saw AJ Bouye slide to make his fourth interception of the season, 20th takeaway for Jaguars. Kizer would be strip sacked twice in the final 2 minutes – the first with 1:44 left – the second of which ended all doubt. Yannick Ngakoue strip-sacked Kizer, the ball eventually squirted loose into end zone for Telvin Smith to fall on it for a TD and that’s all folks. Fournette 2-point conversion no good.
Injuries – Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (foot), defensive lineman Jamie Meder (ankle), receiver Sammie Coates (knee/ankle) all left Sunday’s game with injuries and did not return.