Sometimes, there are just no words to describe a feeling.
Quarterback Josh McCown struggled to find any words to explain how the Cleveland Browns surrendered 24 points and managed just one scoring drive of their own in the second half of a 31-28 loss to the New York Jets at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“I wish I could,” McCown said. “I just look at myself. Played two different halves. One half, we played the way we always talk about playing, the way Coach talks about playing and the way we played this week. That is how we played in the first half. In the second half, we didn’t.
“I say we, but I didn’t. It starts with me. I take this one squarely on me. I don’t feel like I played to the level that I’m capable of playing at, and that I played to in the first half. I feel like it cost us the ball game.”
Despite throwing for 341 yards and two touchdowns, McCown took blame for the Browns’ latest loss because of two fourth-quarter interceptions that stymied drives, one that led to what ultimately proved to be the game-deciding points on a 24-yard field goal from Nick Folk with four minutes to play in regulation.
“There is no excuse for me,” McCown said. “No excuse. I should have been better. It is a tough feeling because we put so much into the week and the whole organization put so much into the week, getting ready for the games.
“When you have opportunities, you have to take advantage of them. We had a couple there in the second half where we could have distanced ourselves. I just feel like I didn’t take advantage of it.”
McCown’s first interception was on a deep pass to wide receiver Terrelle Pryor with 9:03 to play in regulation.
On second-and-five from the Browns’ 30-yard line, McCown threw down the left side of the field into coverage for Pryor. With cornerback Darrelle Revis in front of Pryor, veteran safety Marcus Gilchrist came over top of the route and corralled the interception.
“Absolutely, I felt like, ‘Hey, that is a touchdown,’” McCown said. “Just missed him. I didn’t feel like I put that much on the ball, but I missed him. That is not however many people were here or however many people were on both sides. All of those people, only one person had control of that and that is me. That is my fault.”
What was most frustrating for McCown was the fact that he did not see “a whole lot” of change from the Jets’ defense in the second half, meaning he felt all of the miscues were avoidable errors.
“We did our thing,” McCown said. “I just didn’t play the same way as I played in the first half. That is how I feel. Because of that, we didn’t roll the way we were. I think there are encouraging things to take from this as far as getting up on the ball and going fast, and Coach Jackson’s vision for our offense.
“I think you see how we can move the ball when we are doing that, and I really enjoy playing that way. Nothing in the second half was a lot different. It was just a matter of execution.”