PITTSBURGH (92.3 The Fan) – Aware that the Browns’ only chance at a victory slipped right through his hands late in the fourth quarter, receiver Corey Coleman sat quietly with his head in his hands at his locker following their 28-24 loss in Pittsburgh to complete a winless season.
Coleman’s drop on fourth down that saw rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer dodge wave after wave of Steeler defenders long enough to find him wide open at the 11 is one he will never forget.
“It lasts forever,” an inconsolable Coleman said.
So does 0-16.
“It sucks,” Coleman said. “Nobody wants to go 0-16.”
Coleman, selected 15th overall in the 2016 draft to be an offensive weapon and cornerstone of the rebuild, has dealt with a lot in 2 years including dropped passes, a broken bone in his right hand in each of his first 2 seasons, being sent home after breaking team curfew earlier this year in Houston and trying to live up to the expectations that comes with being a top draft pick.
Head coach Hue Jackson said after the game he’d yet to speak with Coleman, but he planned to. What is it that Jackson planned to say?
“I’ll put my arms around him and say, ‘Hey, you’ve got to make those plays,'” Jackson said. “He knows that. It’s tough. That’s a tough situation to be in. He didn’t make it.”
Fair or not, expecting Coleman to make a play like that with the game on the line is exactly why the Browns picked him. While the drop wasn’t the reason the Browns lost, it was emblematic of the season.
It was also a fitting end to it.
Before Coleman’s fateful drop on fourth-and-2 from the 27, Kizer had to call timeout because there was confusion by Coleman where to line up for the play to begin with. After the timeout, once the ball was snapped, Kizer bobbed and weaved his way around Steelers defenders in the backfield before spotting Coleman all by his lonesome on the far sideline. It was a perfect throw from the rookie QB that went right through Coleman’s hands. Coleman fell to the ground on his backside in disbelief.
“DeShone made a great play hustling around, trying to scramble. He throws the ball, I take my eye off the ball,” Coleman said trying to explain the inexplicable. “That’s literally what happened.”
CBS’ cameras caught Kizer sitting on the bench next to Coleman with an arm draped over the receiver’s shoulder and several teammates also came over to try and lift his spirits.
“You never know what happens after that,” Coleman said. “But…I gotta make that play.”