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JIMMY'S TAKE: Jim Donovan says Cleveland Browns turned in 'lump of coal' in latest loss that dashes playoff hopes

'Listen, if you're going to play in these kind of conditions, at least go out and win the game, right? Well, the Browns did not.'

CLEVELAND — Hello everybody from frosty FirstEnergy Stadium on Christmas Eve.

Listen, if you're going to play in these kind of conditions, at least go out and win the game, right? Well, the Browns did not. They end up losing the home finale to the New Orleans Saints, the final score 17-10.

You know, as you reflect back on the game, the team that is known to be an indoor team — the Saints, who play inside a dome — in the end seemed more comfortable than the team that typically plays their games outdoors — that being us, the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns got off to a 10-0 lead on an interception by Grant Delpit off a tipped ball that he returned 40 yards to set them up. Then, on the first play of the second quarter, Deshaun Watson ran it in from 12 yards out, and the Browns went ahead 7-0.

On their next possession, it looks like they're going to go ahead 14-0. But unfortunately, Amari Cooper slipped in the back of the end zone. He was wide-open, Watson hit him with the ball, he was going down, and the ball deflected incomplete.

The settled for a Cade York field goal of 30 yards. It's 10-0, and you're thinking, "Maybe the Saints — who are 5-9, playing in brutally cold conditions — might call it a day."

They did anything but. By the end of the half, they scored on a field goal by Will Lutz to make it 10-3, got the opening kickoff of the second half, and went down the field and scored again. Taysom Hill, who was a problem all day long for the Browns — either as a running back, or as a quarterback, or as a guy on special teams — took it in and tied the game up.

Then, the critical point of the game: Watson is intercepted by Dan Sorensen. Remember him? He used to be the safety for the Kansas City Chiefs? Remember the playoff game? Remember the helmet-to-helmet hit on Rashard "Hollywood" Higgins, and the ball fumbled through the end zone, and the Browns ended up losing the game by five when they would've scored a touchdown and perhaps won?

Well, that trip down memory lane? Wipe that out. Sorensen got the interception, returned it about 31 yards, and then after that, the guy really played well for New Orleans — Alvin Kamara — went in for a touchdown to give the Saints the lead.

The Browns still had plenty of time to comeback, but the offense went ice-cold — not that it ever was hot throughout the day, but definitely in the second half, they just couldn't move the ball or sustain drives or come up with big third-down conversions.

Finally, near the end of the game on what would be their final drive (and the drive that had to get them in the end zone to tie it up), they're at the 15-yard line of New Orleans, David Njoku doesn't handle a ball on a bullet thrown by Watson down on the 1-yard line, and on fourth down, Watson takes a sack, and the Saints get a win to go to 6-9.

What a lousy way — what a dud — for the Browns to end their home season on Christmas Eve, in front of, really, great fans who were here on a brutal day to watch a team that came in at 6-8. Well, now they drop to 6-9.

So, they're definitely playing out the string now. Two to play — at Washington, at Pittsburgh.

Deshaun Watson in the cold weather? Not too good today: 15-for-31 for 135 yards and an interception, but no touch on the ball. A lot of mis-throws, and some bad decisions in the second half when the Browns' offense went totally out of rhythm.

And then, in the second half — and really probably just before the end of the first half — the problem again of not being able to control the running game by the opposition. The Browns have had some tackling difficulties, and that's what led to the Saints eventually taking the lead with 17 unanswered points.

So, we go to Washington and play on New Year's Day, and then Pittsburgh after that. But on Christmas Eve, a game to forget. A lump of coal for the Browns.

For all of you, Merry Christmas from FirstEnergy Stadium.

Listen below to Jimmy's calls of today's game:

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