CLEVELAND — The struggles — and the torment — continue.
The Cleveland Browns lost again Sunday, 19-7 to the Jacksonville Jaguars, falling for the 10th time in 10 games this season. They are assured a third straight double-digit-loss season, and their 12th in the past 13 years.
The Browns are 1-25 over the past two seasons, and are 1-28 going back to a win over San Francisco on Dec. 13, 2015. Heck, take it back to include their 1-10 finish in 2015, and the Browns are 2-35 in their past 37 games.
Sunday’s loss was close, but the Browns could not get past the Jacksonville defense despite having several opportunities.
After a second-quarter touchdown pass from DeShone Kizer to Duke Johnson, the Browns had the ball seven times but scored no points.
In Detroit a week ago, the offense showed up, but the defense gave up 31 points (the Lions got another touchdown off a fumble recovery). Sunday against Jacksonville, the defense gave up just 13 (Jacksonville also scored off a turnover), but the offense scored just seven.
What it means: It means the Browns have six more games to avoid a winless season. Up next are the Bengals in Cincinnati, followed by the Chargers, Packers, Ravens, Bears and Steelers. Choose when the first win comes, get it right and the Browns may well send a personalized DVD of the 2017 highlight film.
What I liked: The Browns confirmed the previous week’s evidence that they will not quit. They played hard on a cold, windy day at home with maybe half the stadium’s seats filled by humans. At the start, it looked like the Jaguars would dominate, but the Browns hung in. That their offense could not get more points was more a reflection of Jacksonville’s defense than a lack of effort by the Browns.
What I didn’t like: Kizer threw a very nice pass on a 27-yard touchdown to Johnson, but he also threw two painful interceptions and had a costly fumble in the final two minutes as he tried to avoid a blitz and a sack. The first interception in the first quarter set up the Jaguars on a short field for their first touchdown. The second came when a ball seemed to sail on him; Jacksonville took over at its 48 and went on to kick a field goal that made a it a six-point lead, which may as well have been 60 the way the Browns’ offense was playing. Kizer’s 14 interceptions are a league high, and in desperation time he added a fumble that gave the Jaguars their final touchdown.
Fantasy fallout: Kizer and Johnson partnered for a touchdown pass, but depending on any Browns player to provide consistent and significant fantasy points is foolish. This is not an NFL offense built for consistent success.
Injury report: In Detroit, the Browns lost linebacker Jamie Collins to a knee injury. Against the Jaguars, they lost defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah to a foot injury. Ogbah had been playing very well, as he and Myles Garrett were causing a lot of issues for offensive blocking schemes. With Ogbah out, the Jaguars started double-teaming Garrett. The Browns did not release any information on the severity of the injury during the game, but a foot injury always is a concern. The Browns wound up having Ogbah, Garrett and Collins on the field together and healthy for about five minutes this season.
What’s next: The Browns travel to Cincinnati, where coach Hue Jackson faces good friend Marvin Lewis and the Bengals.