It was a classic trap game.
The Browns, fresh off a blowout victory over the Steelers, traveled to Jacksonville to take on the winless Jaguars. Many expected surging Cleveland to roll over the Jags for their fourth win in five weeks. The game was in the bag for Mike Pettine’s squad.
Except it wasn’t.
In a haphazard, sloppy performance, the Browns were held out of the endzone by the Jaguars, who got off the schneid and won handily, 24-6.
After the game, emotions from the visitor’s lockerroom were equal parts anger and disappointment. Tight end Jordan Cameron deemed the performance “unacceptable.” Browns head coach Mike Pettine shared similar sentiments.
“It is frustrating to see us go out and take a step back like we did,” Pettine said, per ESPN.com.
While the Browns’ defense was something of a letdown, its offense shouldered the majority of the blame. They were outgained across the board — first downs, rushing yards, total yards, and time of possession. Cleveland notched more passing yards, but it came in spite of quarterback Brian Hoyer, who completed just 16-of-41 passes for 215 yards and an interception, his second of the year.
“Plays that he’s going to get blamed for aren’t his fault,” receiver Andrew Hawkins said of Hoyer. “We all need to play better.”
Hawkins is right. The Browns, now 3-3, fell back to fourth place in the AFC North, and can’t afford more inexcusable defeats. Fortunately, their schedule remains favorable, with two subpar opponents — the Raiders and Buccaneers — coming to Cleveland over the next two weeks.
The Browns should be favored in both of those contests, but they’ll have to actually show up. We’ll see if a lesson was learned.
(Photo credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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