It was either a complete meltdown, a catastrophic misunderstanding, or just a simple case of a team closed for a day believing victory is guaranteed.
Whatever it was, it became Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefansky’s worst nightmare, and biggest challenge.
The New York Jets lead 30-17 with 1:55 time remaining in Sunday’s game in Cleveland, Brown’s defense gave up two touchdowns within 60 seconds and lost 31-30. After the match, Brown’s players themselves admitted that the team essentially quit.
“We thought it was in the bag… We didn’t play 60 minutes,” goalkeeper Joel Pettonio said after the match.
“We stopped defending and really the whole team stopped at 11The tenth hour,” said defensive end Miles Garrett.
An autopsy the day after the defeat did not provide any clues.
“I got 14 points in the space of two minutes. You have to finish this match,” Stefanski said.
The brown was, but the brown didn’t, so the brown was lost.
“The guys must be frustrated,” said Petty Officer Denzel Ward. “It was a huge loss. When you are in a position to win, you have to finish the game.”
When asked about the coverages that resulted from the Jets’ late touchdown passes, which decided the match, Ward played a “must get on the same page” card.
It is never a good sign for a football coach when defeat is attributed to not having two players on the same page. A big part of a coach’s job is to make sure everyone is on the same page. So let’s just say that in his two seasons as Brown’s head coach, Stefanski had better days than Sunday’s ugly loss of everyone on different pages to the Jets.
But for a 58-yard field goal in the last second of the game by rookie quarterback Kid Yorke in Week 1, Brown would be 0-2, the shouts heard at Cleveland’s First Energy Stadium on Sunday, after the home team coughed what they should have. Be a routine win, it could have been higher.
“It’s a hard pill to swallow,” Stefansky said. “The frustration is very real, when you have a game that you feel you can shut down, but we didn’t.”
Two years ago, as a junior coach, Stefanski was the NFL Coach of the Year after leading the Browns to a record 11-5, trip to the playoffs for the first time in 18 years. But it was a short-lived party.
Last year, in a dismal 8-9 season, quarterback Baker Mayfield, who never seemed to tangle with Stefanski, played most of the season injured, failing to develop any chemistry with his top receiver, Odell Beckham Jr, to the point where he became. Brown simply released Beckham mid-season, and they traded Mayfield with Carolina in July.
This year, in a desperate act, Cleveland owners Jimmy and de Haslam traded quarterback Deshaun Watson, his big baggage, and then signed him to a five-year, $230 million contract, which Watson won’t start earning until he serves his 11th team. for violating the league’s personal behavior policy.
Until then, Browns are working with reserve midfielder Jacobi Brissett, who has played one good game and one bad game so far, and a defense that Sunday, against an inferior opponent, was unable to protect his 14-point lead. Less than two minutes to play.
“We have to turn the page very quickly, make corrections and move forward against the Steelers, their biggest rival,” Stefanski, who is probably the only person in the team building who was not happy that Browns had a short work week, said with a home game on Thursday night.
If nothing else, Thursday’s game will shift the conversation away from Sunday’s horrific loss to the Jets.
Stefanski spent most of his regular Monday sessions with reporters explaining how he could go wrong with a 14-point lead and less than two minutes to play.
In a shot explaining the train wreck that was Brown’s defense late on Sunday, Ward, who also spoke to reporters on Monday, removed the phrase “we have to get to the same page.”
These aren’t exactly words of praise or encouragement about the man in charge. But fortunately for Stefansky, there is no clear elixir in Cleveland better than a thrilling victory over the hated Steelers. So the Cleveland coach has that in, but only if Brown beats Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
In fact, if there’s a silver lining to the black cloud that was Brown’s filthy donation on Sunday, the AFC is a smoldering enclave of mid-level. The Browns, Steelers and Ravens are 1-1, and the Bengals are 0-2.