Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Cody Kessler was pulled from last Thursday night’s 28-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium just one series into the second half of the AFC North Division matchup.
Prior to the Thursday night loss, coach Hue Jackson spoke of his refusal to “play musical chairs” with his quarterback, but despite Kessler completing 11 of his 18 throws for 91 yards and a 25-yard touchdown, he elected to go with veteran Josh McCown for the bulk of the second half.
Kessler’s rating for the game was 92.6. Conversely, with three turnovers, McCown had a 19.9 quarterback rating against the Ravens.
“That was Coach Jackson’s decision,” Kessler said. “That wasn’t up to me. I was doing everything I could, and just playing as hard as I could and Coach Jackson made the decision for me to come out. I stood there on the sidelines supporting Josh, rooting our team on, but I was just competing as hard as I can.
“I’ve got to do more, obviously, continue to grow and continue to get better.”
With Kessler at the helm of the offense, the Browns had an answer for the Ravens’ first score of the game.
Facing a second-and-seven from Baltimore’s 25-yard line, Kessler stood in the pocket and found first-year tight end Seth DeValve breaking free behind veteran safety Eric Weddle. Kessler put the pass only where DeValve would catch it, and the former college wide receiver hauled in his first NFL touchdown pass.
Earlier in the seven-play, 75-yard drive, Kessler completed a 13-yard pass to wide receiver Terrelle Pryor, Sr., and two plays later, one of his throws drew a defensive pass interference penalty.
“Obviously, I wish we would’ve converted more third downs and some different things like that, build some momentum and get some more drives going,” Kessler said. “We had one nice drive there, but obviously, you want to put more together. I was just going out there and competing.
“Close isn’t good enough. You’ve got to be able to finish and win games. That’s a big part of me as a quarterback these last two weeks, and I’ve got to do a better job.”
Although frustrated with the result against the Ravens, Kessler aims to get back onto the field for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“It motivates you to want to be better,” Kessler said. “It motivates you to want to keep working harder for that not to happen. For me, it was if I’m in there, I’m going to do everything I can and work as hard as I can. If I come out, I’m going to be the best teammate I can and support the guys. It just motivates me to continue to work hard and get that much better.”