“You can look at the score at the end of the game, and it can tell a completely different story than the actual game,” Kizer said after a 31-28 loss that felt a lot worse than the score looks.
The Browns gave up 260 yards and 28 points in the first half, and were it not for the Colts' waltzing through the second half, the results would have been worse. The Browns made Jacoby Brissett look like a veteran in his second start and could not cover T.Y. Hilton.
“I’m pissed off because we want to win, deserve to win,” coach Hue Jackson said. “But we have to do the things that help you win.”
Yes, that would be a start.
The Browns were on the road and favored against a winless team. But the laundry list of things they did wrong read like, well, a laundry list. The pass-catchers dropped eight passes, seven by receivers and one by a tight end.
“I actually put this game right here on the skill position, the wide receivers, as a unit, collectively,” Kenny Britt said.
Some teams might not have eight drops in a season, much less a game.
“I wish I could explain it,” Jackson said.
The easy explanation is that the position group is showing its shortcomings. Regardless, Kizer can't have any success with eight passes dropped.
“We talk about it all the time,” Jackson said. “We got to make plays for him.”
Kizer did throw three interceptions, including one on the final play of the game with barely a breath left.
Were the other two interceptions his fault? Not according to the coach. On the first pick, Kizer threw as if Kasen Williams were going to hold his route in an open spot, and Williams kept going. Kizer took responsibility for the interception. On the second interception, Kizer threw behind Britt, who reached back with his hands, only to have it tip off him and go to the Colts. Jackson said Kizer did not want to lead Britt into a safety.
“I know what [Kizer] was trying to do there, and sometimes you have to make those catches,” Jackson said.
The Browns were flagged for four offensive pass interference penalties. Two of the penalties wiped out big Kizer completions.
“We know what it [offensive pass interference] is,” Britt said. “Do the refs know?”
“I just need to go back and watch them because we run the same crossing routes as everybody else,” Jackson said.
Defensively, the bravado shown by coordinator Gregg Williams was not present on the field.
The Colts' offensive coordinator, former Browns coach Rob Chudzinski, guided a precise dismantling of the Browns' defense, with Hilton having tremendous success against the Browns' “angel safety” defense with Jabrill Peppers playing the deep middle.
“I am not going to sit here and sugarcoat that,” Jackson said. “That was a guy that we targeted and wanted to slow down. We weren’t able to slow him down.”
The mood in the locker room was a combination of anger and disgust. The Browns are fed up with losing, with work that is not reaping rewards and with having one win in 19 games under Jackson, who sounded like he was feeling all of the applicable emotions.
“There’s no new players or anything like that are going to come in. We have to get better,” he said. "We are tired of being short each time. ... It’s just disappointing to be 0-3 right now. It’s not where we thought that we would be. It’s where we are. It’s what we’ve earned.”
There isn't much for Jackson to say. If Jackson starts throwing things in anger, he becomes a social-media sensation. If he’s subdued, he doesn’t care. The Bill Parcells bromide that a team is its record comes into play, and Jackson has lost 18 of 19 games he has coached with the Browns.
The Browns have been talking about being an improved team with a young roster and a future. But talk has become gigantically irrelevant with this team. At some point, a win must follow.