Five turnovers, penalties galore, and no sign of a pass rush. That formula isn't going to come close to beating anybody in the NFL. The Cleveland Browns lost their 11th straight opener, falling to the New York Jets by a final score of 31-10 to begin the 2015 season.
Things looked to be getting off to a bright start for the Browns. On their first offensive series of the first quarter, QB Josh McCown was leading the team on a 17-play drive that went over 10 minutes of game clock. On 3rd-and-goal from the 14 yard line, McCown saw daylight up the middle and took off. He was drilled at the 1-yard line, though, sending him into the air like a helicopter as the football popped into the end zone with the Jets recovering for a touchback. Adding salt to the wound, McCown was knocked out of the game with a concussion.
With the game scoreless in the second quarter, QB Johnny Manziel looked poised and connected with WR Travis Benjamin on a 54-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-19 to give Cleveland a 7-0 lead.
The Browns' defense looked to continue their momentum on the next drive as FS Tashaun Gipson intercepted QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. However, WR Brandon Marshall immediately ripped the ball away from Gipson, giving the Jets a fresh set of downs in the red zone. RB Chris Ivory punched it in from 10 yards out to tie the game at 7-7.
The Browns put together another good drive under Manziel near the end of the first half, but it ended with a 26-yard field goal by K Travis Coons. Just like last year, though, the Browns' defense faltered in the final two minutes of a half, allowing Fitzpatrick to march down the field on a drive that ended with a 16-yard touchdown pass to WR Eric Decker. The Jets led 14-10 at halftime.
The second half was all Jets as Manziel coughed the ball up three times and Cleveland's defense showed no signs of life against the run or the pass. Before you knew it, the Jets led 31-10 with ten minutes to play in the fourth quarter.
This was a very discouraging game for the opener. We knew the Browns would have trouble running the ball, but they moved the ball effectively in the first half. This is a team that can't turn the ball over with a march-down-the-field offense. On top of that, the Browns' defense looked pedestrian against a team that isn't supposed to be an offensive powerhouse. Cleveland has a chance to rectify their mistakes when they head back home against the Tennessee Titans next week, but if they lose that one, look out.