The Browns held a 13-point lead with just over a minute left in the game but a deep touchdown pass from Jets QB Joe Flacco on a blown coverage and a late game drive sealed the victory for New York, leaving Browns fans in agony.
The last time a team overcame a 13-point deficit in the final two minutes of a game to win was more than 20 years ago when the 2001 Bears did it against the Browns, per ESPN.
Browns star Myles Garrett did not mince words after the game when it came to his squad’s performance.
“That’s tough. We let up on defense. We let up as a team in the 11th hour,” Garrett told reporters. “If anyone’s gonna point fingers, I’m pointing them at myself, knowing I could’ve done better. I think every man in that locker room should [point the finger at themselves], coaches included.”
But the powerful pass-rusher also had a message for the Cleveland crowd, which booed them in the final stages of the matchup.
“The more disappointing thing was the booing at the end. It was not the most optimal ending to have. Of course, we want to win. Of course, we want to play out the game and it ends 30-16 or 30-17 whatever it was,” Garrett said. “We get a pick or a strip sack and end the game, but that’s not always how it goes. These guys are still putting their asses on the line and playing as hard as they can and they should be respected as such. It’s two games and we have plenty more to play, especially this next one coming up in front of the home crowd.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski shouldered some of the blame for the rushing loss and wants to put on a better show for the fans when they see the Steelers on Thursday.
“These games are hard. You are trying to do everything you can to win the game. We didn’t, and that is a ‘We’, capital W. We didn’t win the game,” Stefanski said. “Ultimately, that is my job. I need to win that football game for this football team. For our fans, like you mentioned, it is really tough to watch, and I get that. What is really important though is that we fix this and get back in here Thursday night against a good division opponent.”
Browns Coach Kevin Stefanski: ‘We’re Gonna Own It”
The Browns had things under control for most of the afternoon, riding their stellar running game and a solid performance from QB Jacoby Brissett to a comfortable lead.
But some bad luck and late choices opened up the door for the Jets’ improbable comeback, dropping the Browns to 1-1.
“All of it’s frustrating, but you win as a team in this league. You lose as a team. We’re gonna own it,” Stefanski said. “Not gonna hide from it.”
It’s the second consecutive week where the Browns saw the game in the balance after the two-minute warning. Against the Panthers, Cleveland needed a booming 58-yard kick from rookie kicker Cade York to pull out the victory.
What was similar was the blown coverages that allowed the Jets to get back into striking distance. Against the Panthers, Robbie Anderson was untouched for a 75-yard score. Against the Jets, it was Flacco finding a wide-open Corey Davis for 66 yards.
“Obviously guys not on the same page,” Stefanski said. “We can’t let that happen. We have a young football team and that youth is showing up.”
Jets Feel They ‘Wore Out’ Myles Garrett
Garrett had a big first-half sack against the Jets that puts him just one away from the franchise record. However, he wasn’t a huge impact the rest of the game, notching just a single tackle.
“I think we wore him out,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said. “I thought we ran the ball really well and it was hot down there. The guy is an unbelievable talent but we were trying to bother the heck out of him all game.”
The Browns have a chance to turn things around on Thursday in the primetime spotlight against the Steelers. The team is hoping that Jadeveon Clowney will be available after he headed to the locker room early with an ankle injury.