BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns’ wide receivers struggled to catch the ball for much of their game against the Indianapolis Colts, and even when they did have big plays, many of them were brought back because of offensive pass-interference penalties.
The Browns (0-3) committed three turnovers, had four three-and-outs and were flagged 10 times for 113 yards, all of which combined with the explosive plays from quarterback Jacoby Brissett and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, and carried the Colts (1-2) to a 31-28 win.
Despite the Browns’ lack of big plays against the Colts, rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer remains confident in his skill players.
“Between myself and I want to say every one of those receivers out there, we've completed hundreds of balls together, and we know what it takes to go out there and play well,” Kizer said.
“We've made spectacular plays in practice. We've made spectacular plays in games, and I know we just need to continue to build on that. There's a lot that goes into winning. There's a lot that goes into completing passes. We've got to just make sure that we're grinding each day to do whatever we can to allow that to happen a little more often.”
Cleveland Browns battle Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium
Second-year wide receiver Ricardo Louis had one of the more difficult games against the Colts, as he caught only one of the six passes Kizer targeted him with in the losing effort.
“Ricardo’s a great player and he knows it and I know it and we all know it,” Kizer said. “I think that the most important thing after a game like that is to go into practice with the excitement that we had today to get back to work. We’re going to come out and we’re going to make the proper adjustments that we need to make and go out and make the plays that we need to make to go out and win games.”
Plagued by eight dropped passes from his wide receivers and tight ends, Kizer completed 22 of his 47 attempts for 242 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for another score, but committed three turnovers, throwing two interceptions to Colts defensive back Rashaan Melvin and a third that spoiled the comeback attempt late in the fourth quarter.
Despite the issues, Kizer remains “100 percent” confident his receivers will step up and make plays when it counts, starting with this Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium, and Coach Hue Jackson feels the same way heading into the first of two meetings in The Battle of Ohio.
“We just have to keep coaching them and keep working at it,” Jackson said. “We have guys. We just have to keep doing the little things and doing them better. It is a group that I think comes in here every day to work, and we just have to continue to take what we do on the practice field to the game field.
“These guys are working hard and are trying to be the best they can be. We are going to keep working with these guys. We are going to get them better. We are going to make sure that when we go out there our next opportunity that we can go out there and play even better than we did this past week.”