CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer learned quickly that players who make mistakes typically find their way to the sidelines in the National Football League.
Pulled at halftime or in the second half over two straight starts earlier in the season, Kizer was reinserted into the starting lineup ahead of and played through all four quarters in a 33-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Twickenham Stadium in London two weeks ago.
“It is professional football,” Kizer said. “You can’t make mistakes in this league because somehow, someway, that mistake is going to come back to haunt you in the game. There are not a lot of games that you don’t have multiple turnovers and multiple mistakes in crucial moments of a game and still win.
“You feel that pressure, but you also know that the same conversation that you say a mistake can turn a game around, a big play can turn a game around. We have to go after those now.”
For the first time in a month, Kizer played a full game, completing 18 of his 34 attempts for 179 yards with no touchdowns and five carries for 18 yards with one score in a loss to the Vikings (6-2). More importantly for the Browns, Kizer did not turn the ball over in the loss.
The Browns retook a one-score lead over the Vikings on 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.
“It was awesome,” Kizer said. “You get to get into a fourth-I quarter situation in which you have some confidence and have some momentum and you know you have an opportunity to win. That is all you want to do in this league is put yourself in a position to find some success in the fourth quarter.”
In his first seven NFL starts, Kizer completed 111 of his 213 attempts (52.1 percent) for 1,144 yards with three touchdowns against a league-worst 11 interceptions. Additionally, Kizer has taken 15 sacks for 81 lost yards and holds a 51.1 quarterback rating.
“The more you play, the more comfortable you become, the more you let it rip,” Kizer said. “I think that every game that I have stepped out there, I have felt more comfortable. I felt completely in control this past week.
“But once again, as much as you want to develop yourself and become more comfortable, you still have to go make more plays. If I can go out there and make a couple more plays in that game, it could be a different outcome.”
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