Well, that wasn't how things were supposed to go.
The Cleveland Browns' road woes continued, except this time, there was no heroic second half comeback as the Jaguars came out victorious by a final score of 24-6. The final score is indicative of how poorly the Browns played on offense, but it also conceals the fact that Cleveland should have been able to win ugly this week. If you're ever looking for a week where a loss can be pinned on the coaching staff, this was it.
The Browns were shutting down the Jaguars in the first half, but only had a 6-0 lead as the offense struggled. After a second interception by FS Tashaun Gipson, the Browns started with the ball in field goal range. On a 2nd-and-2 situation, RB Terrance West did way too much dancing in the backfield, trying to hit a home run instead of safely securing the first down. On 3rd-and-1, West was stuffed again. Facing a long 4th-and-1, Mike Pettine decided to go for it, despite the fact that a field goal would have given the Browns a 9-0 lead over a struggling rookie quarterback.
The Browns' fourth-down pass attempt fell incomplete, and the Jaguars mustered their only offense of the half, connecting on three straight big pass plays to go up 7-6. For much of the second half, it was 10-6 Jaguars with both teams trading punts back-and-forth.
At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Browns were still in it, but tried to catch the Jaguars by surprise by taking the offense off the field on fourth down, and then sending them right back on. As the play clock was hitting 0:00, it looked like C John Greco snapped the ball on his own accord, and the Browns had no play ready. The Jaguars didn't have 12 men on the field and they stopped the Browns.
Cleveland's defense still held strong, and on the Browns' next drive, QB Brian Hoyer found WR Andrew Hawkins for a 65-yard catch-and-run. Sadly, he couldn't reach the end zone, and after a few more negative plays on offense, the Browns had a net punt of 11 yards. The defense held strong again, but with 5:58 left in the fourth quarter, the Browns' had two blunders on the same play on special teams. First, it was a 4th-and-3, and the Browns jumped offsides, which would've given Jacksonville a first down. Making matters worse, punt returner Jordan Poyer inexplicably tried fielding a punt inside his own end zone, and he muffed it right into the arms of a Jaguars defender.
With under six minutes to play, and inside the ten yard line, the Jaguars ran it in for a touchdown. They added another touchdown off of a turnover, resulting in the 24-6 outcome, but this game was a disservice to the Browns' defense.
This was a terrible game for the offensive line, the running backs, the wide receiver, and Hoyer. Hoyer's had eight full starts as a Browns quarterback, and this was the first one that looked ugly to me. So, for anybody who thinks the Browns should turn to QB Johnny Manziel, I'd argue heavily against that. The Browns will have to regroup and see they have two very winnable games still coming up. 6-2 was ideal, but striving for 5-3 still keeps you in it until some of your defensive linemen and then WR Josh Gordon return.
To buy tickets, visit the NFL Ticket Exchange.