CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson feels there is a lot of fight left in these dawgs.
At 0-8 after Sunday’s 33-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Twickenham Stadium in London and in last place in the AFC North Division, the Cleveland Browns are out the playoff picture at the bye week, but Jackson has not been able to tell that by the way the team has fought through practices and games.
“There is no quit in this team,” Jackson said in a conference call with the Cleveland media Monday. “We are going to continue to work hard. We are going to continue to improve.
“I think we are improving in some areas, but it doesn’t show in the win column. We know we can play better at times, too, and I am going to keep asking more of our players and our coaches. We will continue to do it that way. Hopefully, we will come out with some better results here soon.”
The Browns showed plenty of fight throughout the first half against the Vikings.
The Browns retook a one-score lead over the Vikings on quarterback DeShone Kizer’s one-yard touchdown run with 40 seconds left to play in the first half. Kizer capped off the eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive with his team-leading third rushing touchdown of the season.
Earlier in the drive, the Browns faced a third-and-13 from their own 15-yard line when Kizer fired a throw down the left sideline for wide receiver Ricardo Louis, who created enough separation from defensive back Xavier Rhodes to secure the 38-yard reception.
Then, on second-and-seven from Minnesota’s 44-yard line, Kizer scrambled around the pocket and evaded the rush of several Vikings before flipping a pass forward to running back Isaiah Crowell. After securing the catch in space, Crowell turned upfield and gained 38 yards, which moved the ball to Minnesota’s six-yard line.
“We did some good things,” Jackson said. “I thought the fast start by the offense -- scoring in two plays -- that was encouraging because we haven’t done that since I have been here, and I am used to scoring on opening drives, so I thought that was a plus.
“Our defense getting the interception early, that helped set the offense up. I think that is playing complimentary football. When the defense does something well like that, we have a chance to respond. Right before the half, the team being able to drive down and score a touchdown, I thought was outstanding because that is football.”
Jackson and the Browns will take the bye week to do some self-scouting, but also, get time away from the game and refocus before returning from their annual mid-season break to play the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Sunday, November 12.
“We have eight more weeks to go and figure some things out and get better at it,” Jackson said. “I still like our players’ fight. We all want better results. We are going to take this bye week and really study ourselves and see where we can do better.”