The situation is ripe for the picking. All the factors are set in position to be taken advantage of and use for one’s own benefit. But then we shoot ourselves in the foot and botch it away. In much the same way, the Jets had their backs to the wall in Week 5 in the NFL. And yet, the Browns were tripping over their own feet at home at FirstEnergy Stadium, leading to a close match between New York and Cleveland.
From the Jets 3 yard line on 3rd down and goal, Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer pitched the ball to running back Isaiah Crowell, who could not catch it. Linebacker Freddie Bishop recovered the fumble at the Jets 7 yard line.
Kicker Zane Gonzalez missed a 52 yard field goal attempt, preventing the Browns from getting on the scoreboard first.
From the Jets 4 yard line, Kizer threw a pass intended for the tight end Seth DeValve but rookie safety Marcus Maye intercepted the ball and was tackled by Crowell at the Jets 14 yard line.
“The safety undercut an out route” said DeShone in his postgame press conference. “I didn’t see him and I put the ball in harm’s way.”
This was the 3rd time that Cleveland gave away an opportunity to score in the red zone and come away with points.
Gonzalez missed another field goal attempt, this time wide left from 39 yards away.
Because of these 4 miscues, the Browns failed to take a lead over New York and were trailing 0-3 at the half.
After DeShone was benched in the 3rd quarter, backup Kevin Hogan threw a TD pass to David Njoku to give Cleveland the lead 7-3.
However, on the next possession, Hogan was hit by linebacker Demario Davis on a play action to Crowell. Cornerback Morris Claiborne intercepted the tipped ball in front of receiver Ricardo Louis at the Browns 40 yard line. Gang Green converted the turnover into points, with McCown throwing a TD fade pass to Austin Seferian-Jenkins to put the Jets up 10-7.
And then came the critical decision of the game.
Cleveland was at the Jets 4 yard line on 4th down and 2. The Browns were already attempting to kick the field goal when the head coach Hue Jackson called a timeout. He took the special teams off the field and decided to go for it on 4th down. Isaiah took the handoff from the QB but linebacker Jordan Jenkins tackled him for no gain. Cleveland turned the ball over on downs and failed to tie the game at 10.
The Jets took advantage of that missed opportunity as McCown drove the offense on an eight play 97 yard drive that took 4:26 minutes off the clock that ended with a 24 yard TD catch to Jermaine Kearse. With 8:30 minutes left in the final quarter, New York extended their lead to 10 points.
Cleveland made the score much closer as RB Duke Johnson took a short pass on a screen play from Hogan and ran 41 yards for the TD.
The Browns trailed 17-14 and attempted to recover the onside kick. However, linebacker Julian Standford caught the onside kick, ending the opponent’s hope for a comeback. Three kneeldowns later, New York ran out the clock and held on for the 17-14 win.
Cleveland shot themselves in the foot with mistakes all over the field.
- On offense, the team turned the ball over 3 times, which the Jets capitalized on by converting the turnovers into points.
- On special teams, Zane Gonzalez missed 2 field goal attempts, preventing the Browns from putting points on the scoreboard.
- And the terrible decision by the coach to not tie the game with a short field goal but instead go for it on 4th down exemplified all the errors that Cleveland committed in the loss.
With a team as New York on the same level as the Browns, these miscues were what kept the Dawg Pound from winning an evenly matched game. The turnovers sent them to their 5th straight loss of the 2017 season while Gang Green improved their record to 3-2.