CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – The Browns march to 0-16 didn’t skip a beat Sunday in Los Angeles, even with Josh Gordon back on the field after a 1,078 day hiatus.
This was the week for bad Kizer as the rookie quarterback struggled – again – with his accuracy all afternoon that saw him complete 15 of 32 passes for 215 yards with a touchdown and interception in a 19-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Here’s a look at the good and bad from loss No. 12.
– The first offensive play of the game went to Gordon – a quick 9-yard slant. Gordon made a sensational catch on the far sideline for 28 yards out-jumping Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward to move the Browns into LA territory at the 28 as the 2-minute warning of the first half hit. Gordon added a 39-yard catch-and-run on a crossing route in the second half. He was targeted a team-high 11 times catching 4 of the passes for 85 yards, which again led the team. Had Kizer been more accurate with a few other throws, Gordon could’ve had a monster day.
– The Chargers’ kicking woes popped up early as former Browns kicker Travis Cons doinked a 38-yard field goal try off the right upright. Los Angeles hasn’t scored on their opening drive this season and missed 4 field goals on them. Coons recovered to hit kicks from 21, 40, 22 and 27 yards in the win.
– Browns cornerback Jason McCourty saved a touchdown by knocking the ball from the grasp of Chargers receiver Keenan Allen in the back corner of the end zone on third-and-goal. Coons kicked a 21-yard field goal to give LA 3-0 lead with 9:03 left in the first half.
– Matthew Dayes ripped off a 32-yard kickoff return after LA took a 6-0 lead. Dayes had a 53-yard return against Jacksonville and season-long 71 yarder against the Vikings in London. The Browns were able to capitalize and put together their only TD drive of the day.
– Tight David Njoku caught his fourth TD of the season, a 28 yarder up the seam on a great throw from DeShone Kizer with 1:55 left in the first half to give the Browns a 7-6 lead to cap a 5-play, 65 yard drive. The touchdown set a new Browns record for most receiving TDs by a Browns rookie tight end in franchise history.
– The Browns’ defense bent but didn’t break forcing 5 field goal attempts by Coons and only allowing 1 touchdown despite getting out-gained 429-291 Sunday.
– Kizer’s second pass in Gordon’s direction came in the second quarter and he put too much heat on the ball. Gordon beat safety Adrian Phillips easily and a good throw would’ve equaled a TD. Instead, 3 plays later running back Duke Johnson got stuffed on a fourth-and-1 from the LA 35 ending the drive. Kizer missed short on another deep ball to Gordon with 9:13 left in the third quarter up the far sideline that nearly resulted in an interception. With some air under the ball from Kizer, Gordon could’ve caught it and walked to the endzone.
– The Chargers marched right down the field on their opening drive of the second half – 10 plays, 78 yards – which was capped by Philip Rivers’ 7-yard touchdown toss to receiver Keenan Allen for a 16-7 lead with 10:35 left in the third. Rivers went 5 of 7 for 79 yards on the drive, which all but put the game out of reach.
– Cleveland’s struggles covering tight ends continues. Sunday, Chargers tight ends Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry combined for 10 catches and 113 yards.
– Chargers defensive end – and former Ohio State star – Joey Bosa made the game-clinching play when he flew around the left side and stripped DeShone Kizer from behind. The ball bounced and rolled towards the sideline before linebacker and former Akron Zip Jatavis Brown recovered it at the 20 with 4:48 to play in the final quarter.
– Kizer ended all doubt with 1:21 left when he threw his 15th interception of the season right into the arms of Chargers safety Adrian Phillips over the middle of the field. A pair of Kizer turnovers with less than 5 minutes to play gift-wrapped a third straight win to LA.
– The 9-point loss was the smallest margin of defeat since a 12-9 overtime loss to the Titans on Oct. 22 but was still the eighth 2-score loss and 18th since 2016 for the Browns. Cleveland entered the fourth quarter trailing 19-7 marking the sixth time they trailed by double figures entering the final 15 minutes this season with an offense that has scored in double figures in a quarter just 5 times in 2017.
– Cleveland is 0-12 for a second straight year and 1-27 over the last 2 years surpassing the 1976-77 expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the worst 28-game stretch in NFL history. The Browns, who have now lost 12 or more games in a season 10 times since 1999, also own the worst 49-game stretch in league history now that they are 4-45 since Nov. 30, 2014.