CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer may be a rookie, but he expects much more from himself in terms of leading the turnaround of a team that posted a 1-15 mark in 2016, has not made a playoff appearance since January of 2003 or had winning season since 2007.
Despite being responsible for three touchdowns, two passing and one rushing, Kizer shouldered the blame because he tossed three interceptions in a 31-28 loss to the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Sunday.
“Turnovers are the name of the game in this league, and I went out there and had two crucial ones in prime, opportune moments to go down and change the momentum of the game,” Kizer said.
Cleveland Browns battle Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium
Plagued by dropped passes from his wide receivers and tight ends, Kizer completed only 22 of his 47 attempts for 242 yards and two touchdowns, 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.
“The first one, I didn’t put the ball where I was supposed to put it,” Kizer said. “The second one, I didn’t put the ball where I was supposed to put it.”
The Browns put together a scoring drive and cut the Colts’ lead down to two scores, 28-14, when Kizer completed a one-yard touchdown pass to tight end David Njoku with 24 seconds to play in the first half.
Earlier in the drive, Kizer threw a 26-yard pass to wide receiver Jordan Leslie, who despite tight coverage from the Colts’ secondary, got his right arm into the air and secured the one-handed grab for a first down that moved the Browns down to the Indianapolis two-yard line.
Then, late in the game, Kizer threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kenny Britt with 6:56 to play in the fourth quarter. Despite the Colts being called for pass interference on the play, Britt caught the ball while fading to the sideline and fell down in bounds for the touchdown.
Also, Kizer completed a 25-yard pass to running back Duke Johnson on the scoring drive.
“Those are the plays that make us move forward, that make us excited to go into the next week to learn and take the next step because we know we have the playmakers,” Kizer said. “We have the roster that’s needed to go out and win games. We’ve just got to make sure we’re stopping with the turnovers.”
Moving forward with the 2017 season, which resumes with back-to-back home games against the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets over the next two weeks, Kizer aims to have better execution offensively in order to finish off drives in the end zone and not making tackles after turnovers.
“In order to have success on offense, especially in the beginning of a game when defenses are throwing a new scheme at you that you haven’t seen all week, it’s up to us to understand our system, we understand our offense and our job and have 11 guys who are out there executing equally,” Kizer said.