CHICAGO -- In the lexicon of "That’s So Browns" moments, the Cleveland Browns outdid themselves Sunday.
And one of their own did them in on the inexorable march to 15 losses in 15 games -- one week from a final record of 0-16.
On the first play of the second half, defensive end Myles Garrett tipped and intercepted a short pass by Mitch Trubisky. Garrett then ran through a tackle attempt and made a move to avoid another en route to what should have been an uplifting defensive touchdown that gave the Browns a 10-6 lead over the Bears.
Except the play was called back.
The Browns were flagged for a penalty.
Not the garden-variety block in the back or holding on the return.
The Browns were penalized because defensive end Carl Nassib lined up offside.
That’s right, he lined up offside. At left end, all Nassib had to do was look to the ball and back up. He didn’t.
He. Lined. Up. Offside.
The touchdown was wiped out, and naturally the Bears went on to score a touchdown.
The Browns then punted when Josh Gordon dropped what would have been a third-down conversion.
And the Bears then drove for another touchdown -- and on that drive Jabrill Peppers lined up offside on fourth-and-1 (the 5 yards wasn’t needed because the Bears made a good run anyway).
Then the Browns’ Rashard Higgins fumbled the ball at the Bears’ 3 as the Browns drove for what could have been a touchdown to make things interesting.
These are the methods and practices that lead to a team losing 15 times in 15 games, and locking up the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft.
The 20-3 final does not indicate it, but at halftime the Browns trailed by three and would have had an uplifting start with Garrett’s interception.
Alas, it was not to be -- and it almost seemed as if the penalty on Nassib brought every bad thought possible into the psyche of the Browns. Because they kept living them out the rest of the game.
The Browns are staring directly at an 0-16 finish, with one game left in Pittsburgh against the Steelers.
The only good thing about the next game is it’s the last one.
It does not appear that this season will end mercifully.