CLEVELAND — There is no joy in Cleveland, for the (not-so-) mighty Browns have struck out.
So maybe a baseball poem like "Casey at the Bat" isn't an entirely appropriate way to describe a football team, but the description is apt for a season that has quickly and drastically fallen apart. Following Monday night's 26-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Browns are not only out of the playoffs, but will finish with a losing record for the 13th time in 14 years, and the 20th time in the 23 seasons since they returned to the NFL in 1999.
What happened? How did a team that went 11-5 last year and came oh-so-close to the AFC Championship Game fall flat as one of the league's biggest disappointments? Truth is, there are many reasons for this failure, and many of them were on full display before a national audience on this night.
There were plenty of dumbfounding penalties — such as Jadeveon Clowney throwing a receiver's shoe — along with a couple of defensive lapses and some ill-timed drops by the receiving corps. But for fans, much of the blame is falling on two individuals: quarterback Baker Mayfield and head coach Kevin Stefanski.
If Mayfield needed a big performance to end talk of a QB controversy, he didn't deliver on Monday, completing only 42% of his passes with two touchdowns and two interceptions along with nine sacks. The former No. 1 overall pick has been banged up all season, but raised eyebrows after the game by saying he would talk to his "family and [his] agent" (not the team) when deciding if he will play in next weekend's season finale.
As for Stefanski, his play-calling was once again baffling, especially with Nick Chubb only receiving 12 carries on the night. Cleveland is currently averaging only 20.5 points per game (20th in the NFL), and some are wondering whether it's time for Stefanski to head the scheming duties over to an offensive coordinator.
'A RECURRING THEME': 3News' Jay Crawford examines Kevin Stefanski's play-calling after Browns lose to Steelers
Social media was abuzz with all of those topics and more both before and after the final whistle. Let's take a look at what some fans and analysts had to say: