The Browns believe that this roster can go far this year. And they are built to do just that prior to several key contracts are up.
The first four games are a crucial element in this year’s fortunes. If Cleveland can come out of these contests with a possible win-loss record, then perhaps the next string of difficult games against hard opponents will work itself out into a positive record once Deshaun Watson is released from his 11-game suspension.
The last time the Browns began the season 2-0-0 was in 1993 when Bill Belichick was the head coach. Going into the final minutes the Browns held a 13- point lead only to have inadequate safety play ruin their day in a 31-30 heartbreaking defeat. K Cade York missed his first extra point since his freshman year in college to provide the one-point edge for New York.
So who played well for the Browns? Who didn’t?
DE Myles Garrett - The All-World DE was all over the backfield with a sack with 7:32 to go in Quarter 2. He placed pressure on the passing game all of the first half. Almost had a second sack with nine minutes to play which forced Jets QB Joe Flacco to throw for a very short gain.
JOK- The young linebacker was absolutely everywhere in today’s game and led all Cleveland tacklers with nine total tackles and two tackles for loss including a one-yard loss in the second quarter on a pitch-out to RB Breece Hall which at first looked like a huge gainer. JOK read the play then shot the gap and nailed Hall instead. With 2:45 left in the game he punched the ball out on a tackle of TE Tyler Conklin.
QB Jacoby Brissett - Went 12-13 in the first half including a run of 5-5. Made some very nice touch passes and then was able to thread the needle on others. Despite not being ruled a touchdown, the throw to DPJ was a phenomenal toss and should have been cradled. The interception at the end of the game ended any possibility of a long field goal and was poorly-thrown. Was 22 for 29 for 229 yards with a touchdown and the one pick. He also ran for 43 yards and gained two key first downs rushing.
RB Nick Chubb - The first tackler is never enough to take Chubb down. He also is very good at following his blockers. His final touchdown came with 1:55 left and gave the Browns a very nice 13-point cushion. He tried to go inside, then bounced out to the left flats and made CB D.J. Reed miss then juked out S Lamarcus Joyner at the goal line before sliding into the end zone. Gained 87 yards with 17 attempts and scored three times. Could have downed himself instead of scoring that final touchdown as the Jets were out of timeouts and Cleveland could have run out the clock instead.
WR Amari Cooper - Finally a game that showed that Coop still has it. Gained 101 yards on nine catches, 10 targets and a touchdown. Had two great grabs off bad passes and gained three first downs at key junctures of the game. His catch with 7:34 left in the game was an exceptional catch blanketed by CB D.J. Reed. Cooper’s first reception was not until the 11:24 mark of Quarter #2, so his output is remarkable for two-and-one-half quarters. Cooper had a chance to grab that onside kick but did not.
TE Harrison Bryant - Was the second leading receiver with three catches for 45 yards, but Bryant’s story was his excellent blocking today. On Kareem Hunt’s 11-yard gain in the third quarter it was Bryant who provided a key block on LB Kwon Alexander who was about to tackle Hunt for a loss. Bryant became hurt on the play but returned. Hunt’s 12-yard run with 2:02 left in the game to the 12 began with a Bryant block.
Rightside of offensive line - Whether it was RG Wyatt Teller pulling or C Ethan Pocic taking on a man on the second level or RT James Hudson pushing a defender towards the sideline and out of the play was working in this game. Much of Chubb’s and Kareem Hunt’s yardage was to the right.
P Corey Bojoquez - First punt bounced out at the 10 after traveling 63-yards. Second punt went out at the eight. Three kicks for 163-yards and a 54.3 yard average is a very good day.
S Grant Delpit - For the second week in a row, the safety played poorly. The touchdown right before the half was in Delpit’s zone to which nobody covered RB Breece Hall who did a simple flare out and was all alone. In the middle of the second quarter with the Jets facing a third-and-two, Hall went up the center to which Delpit missed the tackle just short of the first down marker. Hall gained 23-yards on the play.
Delpit later missed another tackle that resulted in a first down. He also had a face mask penalty. Early in the third quarter, New York had a third-and-7. Delpit lined up four yards past the first down marker to which Jets receiver Elijah Moore simply ran past the marker for the catch with the cushion Delpit provided. Also in the third the Jets had a second-and-11. Wilson ran his route and did a head bob to the middle and then curled out towards the sideline. Delpit had bit on the fake and was off of Wilson by eight yards which resulted in a 31-yard gain.
With 7:51 to go in the game with the Jets needing four yards on a third down play, Delpit again gave Wilson an eight-yard cushion and was wide open three yards past the first down marker, but luckily Wilson dropped the pass.
With the Jets late touchdown, Denzel Ward passed Corey Davis to the deep man on that side who was: Delpit, who was nowhere in the picture. The Garrett Wilson game winner was a slant to the back of the end zone guarded by Delpit.
Missed tackles - This plagued the Browns all game: Jadevon Clowney (2), Jordan Elliott,
Delpit (2), Denzel Ward, Anthony Walker, John Johnson, Greg Newsome (2), Myles Garrett.
PR Demetric Felton - The Browns defense had just stopped the Jets with 2:30 to go in the game leading by seven. The punt was deep to which Felton fumbled the ball near midfield. You do all that work stopping your opponent and then give it right back? Good thing A.J. Green was there for the recovery. Second week in a row that Felton has fumbled a punt.
Not keeping the lead - The clock said 1:55 left in the game. Chubb had just scored and York had just missed the extra point. What could go wrong with a 13-point lead?
Milk Bones – when you realize that the song “Hotel California” is really a negative Yelp review with a two-minute guitar solo
S John Johnson - With the Jets facing a second-and-goal with :15 to play before the half, New York QB Joe Flacco flung a bullet to rookie WR Garrett Wilson when Johnson dove and batted the ball away for the sure touchdown.
DE Jadeveon Clowney - With just over three minutes to play in the first half, Clowney turned the corner against RT Max Mitchell then leaned towards the quarterback to which he was able to swat away the ball. Then as he was falling, he recovered the loose carom for the sack, strip, fumble recovery. With 19 ticks left in the first half, it was Clowney who bumped QB Joe Flacco’s arm for an incompletion.
Third down conversions - Was 4-5 in the first half with the lone miss a 3-20. Then reversed this trend in the second half going 1-4 including a sack that took Cleveland out of any sort of field goal range.
K Cade York - The darling of the opening win against Carolina missed his first PAT since his freshman year at LSU, which was the margin of defeat. Was good on his field goal attempt and 3-4 on extra points.
CB Martin Emerson - With 8:28 to play in the second quarter, Jets receiver Wilson had caught a tough catch near the sideline to which Emerson then pushed Wilson out-of-bounds for an incompletion instead of a first down. In the second quarter, while guarding Wilson Emerson took the fake towards the center of the field and then Wilson was open for the touchdown in the right corner of the end zone. Finished with four total tackles.
CB A.J. Green - Did not provide any coverage on the fake punt pass play. Recovered the Felton fumble on the punt with just over two minutes to play with a seven point lead. This recovery saved the Jets from scoring.
RB Kareem Hunt - Was not used much in the first half, but came out strong in the second half with key runs on screens and provided a spark to the offense. Finished with 16 receiving yards with 58 rushing yards.
What went wrong after having that late 13-point lead?
The long TD pass to Davis killed us
The inability to grab that onside kick
Bad safety play on both the Davis TD and the Wilson TD
Not enough pass rush on the Jets final two possessions which both resulted in touchdown passes