For the second time in three weeks, the Cleveland Browns outgained their opponent and lost a football game.
In a strange way, this could be progress.
However, once again, turnovers raised their ugly head, and along with some odd coaching moves (again!), the Browns dropped to 0-7 on the season with a 12-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans in overtime.
Hue Jackson’s team lost the turnover battle 3-1, with two of the picks coming as the team was driving.
And once again, Jackson changed quarterbacks, going to Cody Kessler in the third quarter after DeShone Kizer threw a pick at the end of the first half, and then threw another early after halftime.
There were several odd coaching decisions in this one, the first coming on the game’s first drive, when Jackson declined a personal foul penalty on 3rd and 1 in Cleveland territory.
The Titans went for it on fourth and one, and picked up the first down. Thankfully, the defense stiffened and held Tennessee to a field goal.
Didn’t Jackson consider the possibility that the Titans would go for it? Also, the penalty yardage would have backed the Titans out of field goal range.
Another odd play was Kessler’s interception in the fourth quarter.
On 3rd and 13 from the Titans’ 47 yard line, Kessler fired the ball downfield and it was picked off on the Tennessee 8 with Cleveland trailing 9-6.
One, why not try to get seven or eight yards and then go for it on fourth down. Two, the replay showed there were no route underneath to do just that.
Jackson forced his QB to throw a long pass downfield, and we believe everyone would believe that throwing downfield is not Kessler’s strong suit.
The Browns had another penalty filled day, another thing that can be attributed to the coaching staff.
The special teams had a block in the back call (to be fair, a little questionable) on the Browns last drive forcing them to start 10 yards further back after forcing a punt, and they received another flag on Cleveland’s last punt for a player being out of bounds, giving Tennessee an extra five yards on the game winning drive.
Then, in overtime, both possessions started offensively for Cleveland with runs, putting Kessler in unfavorable down and distance situations.
We understand we want the Browns to run the football, and they did make a concerted effort to do that today, but they still wound up running 26 times vs. 39 passes.
Our point in overtime is with Kessler in there, why not throw a short pass to gain 4 or 5 yards on first down and give your passer options?
To top off the entire mess, Joe Thomas got hurt in the game and had his consecutive snap streak ended. His availability for next week is in doubt. And if he can’t play, the offensive line is a mess.
Want positives? Rookie TE David Njoku continues to show he is a player, with two catches for 58 yards. The question would be why just two catches?
The other positive is the defense, which did not allow the opposition into the end zone. Granted, Tennessee likes to run the ball, and the Browns are very good at stopping the run, but they accomplished this with Jason McCourty and Jabrill Peppers inactive with injuries.
So, now it’s off to London for a game against the Vikings, followed by the bye week.
Another game with weird coaching decisions and the front office may have to do something. Perhaps change play calling responsibilities, maybe a change at special teams’ coach.
It’s tough to be 1-22, when this was supposed to be a season where progress was to be seen.
We don’t think Hue Jackson is giving us any confidence that it will be.