CLEVELAND -- No professional athlete enjoys finishing a game on the bench because of ineffectiveness while his teammates continue to battle an opponent, but that is exactly what Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer experienced Sunday in front of the home fans.
With the Browns (0-5) trailing the New York Jets (3-2) by three points after the first half of play at FirstEnergy Stadium, coach Hue Jackson made a change at quarterback, benching Kizer in favor of second-year reserve Kevin Hogan, who led two touchdown drives in the 17-14 loss.
“Frustrated for sure,” Kizer said. “My job as a quarterback here is to do whatever I can to help win. It is tough to do that when you are not in the game due to poor performance.
“I look forward to doing whatever I can to get better so I do not have to sit out.”
Over the first 15 minutes of play, the Browns had 61 yards of total offense and mounted a late-quarter drive that travelled 50 yards and into the goal-to-go area. However, Kizer threw an option pitch out of the reach of running back Isaiah Crowell, and the Jets pounced on the loose ball for the fumble recovery at their own three-yard line.
“It was the perfect look to pitch the ball to allow Crow to go to the pylon,” Kizer said. “I pitched the ball to him, and he did not catch the ball.
“It is an option. I had the option to run there. I tried to put the ball in front of him, allow a running back to get to the pylon. Obviously, it was not an adequate pitch for a catch.”
Then, on the interception, Kizer took a shotgun snap from center JC Tretter, rolled to his right and fired a pass toward second-year tight end Seth DeValve. However, Jets safety Marcus Maye jumped the route, corralled the turnover and returned it out to the New York 14-yard line for a 12-yard gain.
“The safety undercut an out route,” Kizer said. “I did not see him, and I put the ball in harm’s way.”
Kizer completed just eight of his 17 passes for 87 yards in the first half along with the fumble and interception. Not only did the turnovers come in the red zone, but also, in goal-to-go situations.
On the season, Kizer has completed 81 of his 157 attempts (50.94 percent) for 851 yards with three touchdowns and nine interceptions, and Sunday marked his fourth straight performance with less than a 50-percent completion rate.
“You go back and you learn from it,” Kizer said. “You do whatever you can to become a better player from the experiences that you have.
“I expect to come back and learn from my mistakes from this game, do whatever I can to become a better player and let those decisions be in the head coach’s hands as they always have been.”
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