Editor's note: Tony Grossi covers the Cleveland Browns for 850 ESPN Cleveland.
Takeaways from the 43-13 defeat to the Tennessee Titans, and coach Freddie Kitchens’ day-after responses …
1. Eighteen penalties (plus two not enforced).
Personal fouls on Greg Robinson (plus ejection) for kicking, Myles Garrett for slapping a player in the face, Jerome Whitehead and Sheldon Richardson for roughing the passer, and Devaroe Lawrence for swearing at a game official.
The breakdown: Ten on offense, seven on defense, one on special teams.
Freddie Kitchens: “We’re very disappointed in the lack of discipline we showed, the loss of composure we showed at times, and just overall not doing a good enough job from a coaching perspective and a player perspective.
“Technique causes you to be in bad positions to commit penalties. So we have to continue to work on technique on the back end of the defense, maintaining composure and being a smart football team.”
2. Decimation of the offensive line caused by Robinson ejection and knee injury to replacement tackle Kendall Lamm. (Plus two reserve linemen were de-activated for the game.)
Kitchens: “I think those guys did an admirable job hanging in there. They kept fighting. They kept giving us a chance, at times. I’m good with what they had to do, overcoming a couple tackles not there. We played seven guys. It’s kind of a worst-case scenario. Those guys hung in there. They weren’t perfect, but gave us a chance.
“I think the protection aspect of things can’t be put solely at their feet. Other things have to happen – tight ends are involved in protections, running backs are involved, the quarterback’s involved in protections."
3. The back-breaking 75-yard screen pass to Derrick Henry for a touchdown with 1:57 to play in the third quarter after the Browns closed the deficit to 15-13.
Kitchens: “That was a good play call on their part and we have to do a better job of combating that play call. That was on me, too.”
4. Curious play-calling – a 22-to-8 pass-to-run ratio in a tight first half – and numerous downfield pass plays, including a play-action call from the end zone that resulted in a safety.
Kitchens: “We’re always going to be aggressive. I’m not changing. We’re going to take our shots. I’ve got to pick and choose when I do it better.”
5. Defensive line unable to apply consistent pass pressure by itself, resulting in more blitz-calls.
Kitchens: “Here’s what happens when you have a front like we have – you get chipped and bumped on both sides. So that gives the quarterback longer to throw the ball and their receivers longer to run their routes and you’re more susceptible to getting holding calls in the secondary. And that’s exactly what happened. As coaches, we have to sometimes do things to create pressure. Yeah, that was planned.”
6. Missing the first PAT and taking the air out of the stadium.
Kitchens: “Eventually missed PATs hurt you. It doesn’t seem like a big deal because of the final score, but yes, I agree 100 percent. He’s going to work to get better. I don’t think [it took the wind out of the sideline]. There’s a lot of excuses you can find, but we’re not into finding excuses. When you lose the game, you can find them. We’re not going to be in that business.”
Brownie bits: X-rays on Baker Mayfield’s right wrist were negative. Kitchens said he was “pretty sure” Mayfield will be fine and not miss practice time … The coach had no update on injuries to Lamm (knee) and receiver Rashard Higgins (ankle) … Kitchens would not deny the team will look for an offensive tackle to add this week, pending the diagnosis of Lamm … Robinson will be fined by the NFL for kicking an opponent, but not suspended. Robinson said he did not mean to kick Titans safety Kenny Vaccaro and apologized for hurting the team … The team confirmed the NFL informed them that players can not wear hard objects during games, such as the expensive watch worn by Odell Beckham Jr. Reports estimated the value of the Richard Mille timepiece from $190,000 to $350,000. Kitchens said he was unaware Beckham wore it during the game. Beckham was not fined for the uniform violation, but put on notice. “As long as they’re going to enforce that with everyone, I’m fine with it,” Kitchens said.