CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Bah humbug.
Fans were dreaming of a win for Christmas but there was no Christmas eve miracle again for the Browns this year as they continue to deck the halls with nothing but losses.
The Browns fell to 0-15 following a 20-3 loss to the Bears, who swept the AFC North this season, at snowy Soldier Field in Chicago Sunday afternoon.
The loss saw the Browns commit 3 turnovers and 8 penalties to end Hue Jackson’s personal 2-game win-streak on Christmas eve as a head coach.
Here’s a look at the good and bad from loss No. 15.
– The Browns threw a sack party in Chicago – OK so they had 5 of them. Safety Justin Currie started it by dropping Trubisky to end Chicago’s first offensive series. Myles Garrett picked up his sixth sack of the season on another third-and-long in the second quarter and Jamar Taylor and Joe Schobert hit the Bears’ rookie QB on a corner blitz – again on third-and-10. Larry Ogunjobi picked up the fourth sack of the day on a first down in the third quarter with the Browns down 10 and James Burgess also was credited with a sack.
– Rookie kicker Zane Gonzalez cleared the crossbar on a 48-yard field goal to cut the Bears’ lead in half, 6-3 Chicago with 0:01 left in the first half. The kick was made possible thanks to a 35-yard catch and run from Kizer to Ricardo Louis. Unfortunately that field goal accounted for all of the Browns’ scoring.
– Duke Johnson Jr. set a new franchise record for catches by a running back in a season. Johnson caught all 7 targets for 81 yards to give him 68 on the season while adding 20 yards on 4 carries in defeat.
– The Bears’ first touchdown was set up thanks to a trio of mistakes by the Browns: a special teams breakdown that saw Tarik Cohen return a punt 28 yards to the Bears’ 43, Trubisky completed a 24-yard pass to tight end Dion Simms and linebacker Carl Nassib’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty followed shortly after. Nassib sort of made up for the penalty by blocking the PAT that followed Howard’s 2-yard TD run to keep it a 6-0 game with 1:20 left in the opening quarter.
– Late in the first half Kizer looked for Josh Gordon and the throw was too deep resulting in the 20th interception of the season and a nice over-the-shoulder catch by Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller in the endzone. Gordon didn’t exactly burn it running up the near sideline but he and Kizer were clearly not on the same page. The turnover ended a beautiful 12-play 50-yard drive that saw Kizer complete 5 straight passes and the Browns pick up 4 first downs. Kizer finished the day 18 of 36 for 182 yards and 2 more interceptions to increase his league-worst total to 21 this season.
– Myles Garrett appeared to make the biggest play of his rookie season when he hauled in a Trubisky tipped pass off the hands of fellow defensive lineman Trevin Coley and rumbled 44 yards to the endzone, which would’ve given the Browns the lead. But defensive end Carl Nassib lined up in the neutral zone at the snap and was offside. Trubisky made them pay with a 40-yard toss on a running back screen to Benny Cunningham to the Cleveland 16. On the very next play, Howard took it the rest of the way for a 13-3 advantage with 12:23 left in the third. That sequence summed up Browns football in a nutshell.
– Rashard Higgins’ 17-yard catch and run late in the third quarter went for naught after Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan poked the ball free from behind as Higgins got inside the 5 and Prince Amukamara recovered the ball in the endzone. It was the 10th red zone turnover this season – 6 more than the next closest team – for the Browns and officially slammed the door on any chance they were going to mount a comeback.
– Hue Jackson is now 1-30 as the Browns coach. Owner Jimmy Haslam shouldn’t have said Jackson will return in 2018 because we’ve transcended embarrassing at this point under Jackson’s leadership. The Browns have lost 16 consecutive regular season games and can match the franchise record of 17 straight (set between Dec. 20, 2015-Dec. 18, 2016) with a loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh next week.