CLEVELAND -- Sometimes, the statistics can tell the story of how a game turns out, and that was certainly the case for the Cleveland Browns in their 31-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017’s first installment of “The Battle of Ohio” at FirstEnergy Stadium Sunday.
The Bengals collected 25 first downs to the Browns’ 16, converted six of their 11 attempts on third down (55 percent) as opposed to Cleveland’s five-for-16 showing (31 percent), won the total yardage battle, 350 to 215, and held a 10-plus minute advantage in time of possession.
“In order to be successful in this league, it takes all 11 guys on one side of the ball working together to execute their job properly,” Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer said. “We were not able to do that across the board from the first snap.
“You have to execute all 11 guys out there doing their job every snap. In order to do well in this league, it has to be every rep. It can’t be spurts. It can’t be here and there. You start to see, obviously, throughout these games how many plays can pile up to turn into negativity. It is on us once again to do our job every time we go step out there to drive the ball down the field and win games.”
Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals face off in 'The Battle of Ohio'
Early in the second quarter, the Browns drove down to the Cincinnati 16-yard line, but a turnover ended the possession and led to a Bengals score.
Kizer fired a pass to wide receiver Kenny Britt on the left side of the formation, but the veteran pass catcher could not get his hands on the ball, and after it ricocheted off of his chest, Bengals defensive back Clayton Fejedelem collected an interception.
After the turnover, quarterback Andy Dalton threw a three-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Kroft and gave the Bengals a 14-0 lead over the Browns with 2:34 to play in the second quarter.
“You put countless amount of hours into this sport to be able to execute things that we do regularly throughout practice, training camp and OTAs,” Kizer said. “All the time you spend not to feel that same success that you feel in practice does become a little frustrating.”
Kizer completed just 16 of his 34 attempts for 118 yards with the one interception and a 43.5 quarterback rating in the loss, and although “there is no sense of me shaking my confidence at all,” he is focused on learning what can be taken from the Browns’ fourth straight loss and apply it to this coming Sunday’s game against the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“0-4 is a wakeup call,” Kizer said. “0-1 is a wakeup call. Each week that you lose is a wakeup call.
“I think we have responded properly each week with pretty good weeks of practice, but once again, that only gives you an opportunity. It is on us to make sure that we are executing the things that we do in practice on Sundays to maximize those opportunities.”