CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Browns knew well that turnovers and issues in the running game were two of the things that did in the Cincinnati Bengals against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1 of the 2017 NFL regular season, and they focused all week in practice on taking care of the ball.
However, even the best-laid plans do not always go off without a hitch.
The Browns (0-2) committed five turnovers, four interceptions and one fumble, and those miscues led to a 24-10 win for the Ravens (2-0) in front of their fans in the team’s 2017 home opener at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday afternoon.
“Everything I said we couldn’t do, we did,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “You can’t turn the ball over to this team. That’s how they won their first game. We can’t give them that type of field position or take points off the board when you have a chance to make plays.”
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Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer went six of 11 with an interception before being pulled from the game because of a migraine, and in relief, Hogan completed five of his 11 attempts for 118 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
After returning to the game on the second drive of the third quarter, Kizer completed nine of his 20 throws, but had two interceptions. He finished his second NFL start 15 of 31 for 182 yards and one touchdown against three interceptions.
The Ravens and Browns traded punts over the first two drives of the game, but on Cleveland’s second possession, Kizer held onto the ball too long and had an up-close-and-personal meeting with Baltimore outside linebacker Terrell Suggs.
As he has on most of his meetings with quarterbacks behind the line of scrimmage throughout his prolific career, Suggs got the best of Kizer and forced a fumble on the sack that the Ravens recovered at Cleveland’s 33-yard line.
Seven plays later, former Browns running back Terrance West rushed for a four-yard touchdown, which gave the Ravens a 7-0 lead with 3:56 to play in the first quarter.
“I don’t care what level of football you play, you can’t turn the ball over as many times as we did,” Jackson said. “And, that being said, there was still a time we had a chance to rally back and we turned it over again.
“We’ll learn from this, and we will, and I hate it for the guys because I think there’s some individual effort and unit effort. The guys are doing some good things, but we have to play as a football team, and that’s what it is going to take as we keep going through this season.”
By having better ball security, the Browns will be able to extend drives, play with a faster tempo and run the kind of offense they want to have as the 2017 season continues.
“We didn’t play well,” Jackson said. “Obviously, at the quarterback position, you can’t give the ball to the other team. There were some plays to be made. We just didn’t make them. We’ll grow from this. I know we will. We’ll go back to the drawing board and get it to where it needs to be.”