BEREA, Ohio -- Despite facing a 21-point deficit during the second quarter of their game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium, the Cleveland Browns fought back into the contest and had a chance to pull out a win.
Although the Browns (0-3) put themselves in a position to win late in the fourth quarter, ultimately, they fell short and suffered a 31-28 loss to the Colts (1-2) for their third straight setback to start the 2017 regular season.
“Obviously, not the outcome we wanted,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “Our guys continue to fight. We got down, 28-7, and I watched a team that just kept going after it. We put ourselves in that spot where we were down, didn’t play as well and did some things on defense in the second quarter. We were able to right those things at halftime and play better on defense.”
The Browns put together a scoring drive and cut the Colts’ lead down to two scores, 28-14, when rookie quarterback DeShone 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, 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.
“We made a few plays early but not consistent enough, and then, had some turnovers in the second half that would have given us an opportunity to be in a little bit better position,” Jackson said. “We have to continue to address that and get better at those things.”
Following Monday’s film session with the team, Jackson stated his confidence in the players’ ability to bounce back from the loss, the Browns’ 18th in their last 19 outings dating back to the start of the 2016 season.
“This team is very resilient and I think they will keep working,” Jackson said. “I know they will. I think they will keep coming here and getting ready to go.”
After losing back-to-back AFC North Division games to the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium (Sept. 10) and against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium (Sept. 17) before the setback against the Colts, the Browns have a chance to not only get their first win of the season, but also, the first against a divisional foe in over two years.
The Browns kick off a two-game homestand against the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday.
“We have a big game this week, and I think we all recognize that, but these guys are pros and they understand what their job is and they understand what we need to do,” Jackson said. “I am not going to tell you that I don’t think about the human side of it. As the head coach, that is something I do have to think through with our football team.”
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